I’m the dad of a a seven year old, and lately, between organizing play dates and shuttling her to and from classes we chose to keep her busy, I’ve been lamenting the death of the neighbourhood. When I was a kid, we didn’t have play dates, we just went out. We took to the streets, and there were other kids there and games would just happen. I miss that way of things, and it makes me sad that my daughter will never know it, because it’s just not the way things are done any longer.
Now, Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat, is not about that, but it does act as a sort of love letter to a largely bygone concept of neighbourhood, with the titular kitty wandering his and visiting its residents. Each house is a different experience for the feline, who, while he doesn’t necessarily revel in the experiences himself, seems content to allow the people to draw joy from his presence.
And I have to say, as a cat owner, that I appreciate the reality of Archie’s disposition. I sometimes wonder at the way cats are depicted in kid’s books, where they are portrayed as loving and endlessly cuddly; in my experience, even the most affectionate cats have an air of arrogance to them. Archie clearly likes the company of his people, but insofar as being an eager participant in their activities, he’s not. He’s a vessel for their happiness, which seems to me about the best you can hope for from most cats.
In the end, he finds the person who derives the most needed joy from his company and there he stays.
Katie Harnett’s work here is entirely top shelf, from the writing to her flattened perspective illustrations. It’s a bravura performance.
Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat is a must-have.
Kinderlit requested and received a copy of Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat in exchange for an honest review. read about our Review Policy HERE.