GRAPHIC NOVELS

Rascal

Top Shelf. May 2020. 128p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781603094634.
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Gr 7 Up–In this debut graphic novel from France, Deglin explores the complicated companionship between an owner and her cat through a series of simple and heartfelt vignettes. Relying on a clean, comic strip format, Deglin uses shades of blue and white to highlight the cat’s inky black movements and facial expressions. The unnamed protagonist’s mother leaves a cat in a cardboard box on her daughter’s porch, asking her to care for it but unaware her daughter has been out of town. Fearing she’s unwrapping a corpse, the protagonist instead releases a starved and traumatized cat, whom she names Rascal. Neither knows what to expect from the other, although it’s clear that Rascal always has the upper hand. As Rascal and his owner grow with each other, so does their relationship. There are laugh-out-loud moments; in a series of wordless panels, Rascal drinks from the toilet, licking his behind, then licks his disgusted owner’s face. The level of detail in each panel, along with the rich characterization, makes this tale a winner. Some minor swearing in two scenes bumps the grade level of this graphic novel up to middle school.
VERDICT This story will delight anyone who has ever loved or lived with a cat.

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