Katt vs. Dogg by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
Format: ARC paperback
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books/Little, Brown and Co.
Number of Pages: 310
Published: April 1st, 2019
Source: Publisher via Goodreads Giveaway
Opening Line: "Oscar hung his head out the window of his father's pickup truck, his tongue flapping in the breeze."
Oscar and Molly have grown up knowing that doggs and katts are mortal enemies, each side hating the other. It's just what doggs and katts do. Doggs are smelly, drool on everything and all they think about is chasing katts up trees. And katts, well they're stuck up and they have icky hairballs and step on litter. Gross. One thing they both agree on is that while they're vacationing at the Western Frontier Park they will stay in their respective camps.
Oscar is a fun loving, rambunctious dogg, who's stellar at long distance running, but also easily distracted. Molly, on the other hand, thinks of herself as dignified, has plans to be an actress and knows she's destined for great things. Yet when a squirrel and butterfly cross their path, they both can't resist the urge to chase them through the woods, resulting in both of them becoming hopelessly lost. When they happen to stumble into each other, their natural instincts take over but eventually realize that working together is the only chance they have to get back to their families.
James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein have written quite a number of series together, I Funny, Max Einstein, Treasure Hunters and House of Robots to name a few. Katt vs. Dogg is the newest debut in the Jimmy Patterson Books for children. What an eye-catching cover, has me thinking of cartoons, and I love the expressions on their face, it captures Oscar and Molly's personalities. Makes me wish my ARC had all the completed illustrations by Anuki López.
Each chapter is broken down into three to four pages with illustrations every couple of pages. I so wanted to love this book, I thought it would be funny, seemed to have an interesting premise, and maybe there'd be a little conflict. It has a great setup cause most dog's and cat's really don't get along and I was curious how they would fend when they got lost and had to rely on each other. It just wasn't as light and funny as I was expecting. I think it's partially because one of the important concepts of Katt vs. Dogg is that each side hates the other, which is fine given the animal's nature but there seemed to be an exorbitant amount of insults to push this thought forward. The cats and dogs referred to each other as dumb, stupid, and ignorant. Sure there are a few funny insults thrown in but it seemed like a large portion of the beginning of the book was setting up how much their families historically hated each other. I don't know maybe it's just me and children will gloss over the insults and see two arch enemies becoming friends. And they really do become friends in the end, but it kinda zapped some of my enjoyment.
The overall messaging of Molly and Oscar being stronger when they work together is rather nice and there are some interesting statistics about dogs and cats, like cats having more than twenty muscles to control their ears and that the average dog can run twenty miles per hour which I really enjoyed. In the end, they do determine they have more in common than they initially thought and there is an overall happy ending. There's also an interesting mix of characters with hybrids including a wolfbear, lionodiles and a kindly doggkatt who offers them help and advice. Plus, being lost in the wilderness, they have lots of obstacles to overcome, including a hungry mountain lion and a huge river they need to cross. So yeah, some adventuring, danger and creative mechanisms of getting them back to base camp. Given cat and dogs are so popular as pets, I can certainly see the kid appeal.