Megabat and Fancy Cat
Megabat and Fancy Cat
All afternoon and well into the evening, Megabat fumed about the cat who’d ruined Christmas.
“Hers was so rude,” he told Birdgirl. The pigeon—who was working on an art project that involved a big pile of pinecones—looked up.
“Firsting of all, hers didn’t even say hello or nicely to meet you!” he began, listing the insults on his left wingtip.
“Nextly, hers brokened the decorations on the dead tree! And final, hers ruined the whole of Christmas!”
Birdgirl gave a sympathetic coo, but it didn’t make Megabat feel much better.
When Megabat is secretly invited into Daniel’s living room, by way of robe pocket, for Christmas morning, he is elated. He can’t wait to join his best friend to play with all of his new toys and eat sweet holiday fruits. Things don’t go entirely to plan, however, when Daniel’s mom brings out one final, extra special gift for her son – a fluffy, pure-bred cat named Priscilla. At first sight, Megabat is enamored with the new animal, but that changes quickly when his friendliest welcome is not reciprocated. From that point on, he takes it upon himself to get rid of the interloper by any means necessary as the cat threatens to take all of Daniel’s love away. With the help of his roommate, Birdgirl, Megabat develops a series of creative, though not well-thought-out, schemes to get the family back to their pre-cat state. In the end, it takes getting what he thought he wanted to help Megabat finally see that maybe the cat isn’t all that bad.
Megabat and Fancy Cat is the second in a series, the first being Magabat, but it works as a standalone story for those unfamiliar with the original adventures of the loveable talking fruit bat. Following Megabat as he works through his complicated feelings about the new pet and his best friend Daniel, while simultaneously helping his best friend battle some devious backyard squirrels, will delight readers. Megabat’s unique speech and hilarious ideas are highlights of the text. I would caution those interested in sharing this story with early readers to be aware of the dialogue since the protagonist struggles with the English language and that could potentially reinforce common spelling and grammar errors, but it should not hinder people from picking up this book. The story is set at Christmastime, but the holiday serves as a plot device more so than an overall theme, and thus the book would be enjoyable any time of year for children who are interested in humourous romps featuring children and animals.
Reich’s subtle, greyscale drawings are quite beautiful and work with the text to elevate the humour and complement the plot without overshadowing it. The pictures are drawn with soft, blended lines and an eye for detail. From Megabat’s emotive face to Priscilla’s soft fur and perceived pomposity, the characters are brought to life on the page.
Megabat and Fancy Cat is a great story for the early reader crowd that like their life lessons with a healthy dose of laughter. It will provoke thought about judging a book by its cover, being open-minded and welcoming in the face of jealousy, and the benefits of working as a team.
Amber Allen is a librarian in Guelph, Ontario, with a passion for children’s literature and writing.