The Complete Chi's Sweet Home: Part 1

illus. by Konami Kanata. 480p. Vertical. 2015. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781942993162.
Gr 2–6—This manga series revolves around a kitten that gets separated from her family when they go for a walk one day. She is discovered by the Yamada family, who takes her home but cannot keep her because of their apartment's rules against pets. They do their best to find another home for the little one but soon find themselves growing fond of the kitten and making great efforts to keep her hidden from the neighbors. Chi is a just a baby, so she has trouble articulating some of her thoughts. Readers may find cutesy words like scarewy, pwease, and wittle a bit off-putting, but these speech patterns do gradually transition out of Chi's internal monologues as the kitten grows older. The artwork is delightful. The drawings are clean and simple and are beautifully colored in watercolors—even the sound effects and motion lines are colored. The panels brim with vitality, allowing readers to effortlessly join Chi in all her adventures. Individual volumes of this series have been available in English since 2010, but this book is a new omnibus edition that contains volumes one to three, plus three bonus comics. As with the individual volumes, this omnibus is "flipped," which means it reads left to right, allowing beginning manga readers to enjoy the tales with greater ease. Pair with Hero Cats by Kyle Puttkammer (Action Lab Entertainment, 2015) and Scratch9 by Rob M. Worley (Hermes Pr., 2015) for a truly paw-some trio of adorable graphic novels.
VERDICT Funny, sweet, and sometimes poignant, this adorable series truly understands felines and the humans who love them, and is one of the rare manga series that is enjoyable for all ages.

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