The third in a series inspired by the author’s real life cats this action packed adventure is full of humour and is a real mood lifter of a book. Illustrated throughout, this is great fun for young newly confident readers and parents will enjoy reading it aloud too.
During the day Toto and her brother Silver are ordinary cats living with their owners in a town house in London. However, at night this all changes! Toto is almost totally blind but has been taught extraordinary skills by a ninja cat master back in Italy, where she was born. As night falls she and Silver embark on top secret adventures keeping the streets of London safe from notorious animal criminals. After months of exhausting work Toto and Silver are ready for a holiday and their friend, Catface, arranges a trip to the world’s most famous musical – Catstonbury! Toto is looking forward to a well earned rest but an evil villain has other plans for the festival. Toto has to call on all her skills to defeat the dastardly criminal and save the festival from catastrophe!
Dermot O’Leary uses his background in the music business and his passion for it to good effect in this enjoyable and lively tale. The stars of the festival, Jonny and the Shorthairs, with their lead singer Jonny sporting a huge ‘cat quiff’ and with an ego to match are entertaining characters. Toto’s friend Catface, apparently inspired by Stephen Fry, manages to be ‘both cool and odd’ and is joined by a motley crew of animal chums who team up with Toto as the adventure progresses. Despite the action, the puns and the crazy plot this is also a story of friendship and kindness and it is clear from the success of the series that this is a winning combination for young children.
The eye catching cover and the illustrations throughout are by Nick East and add to the fun immensely. I loved Toto’s twinkly wellies and the double page spread of the festival with Glastonbury Tor recognisable in the distance made me smile. In addition to breaking up the text so that the book does not look too overwhelming for children who have not developed reading stamina the illustrations are great to enjoy for their own sake, full of detail and imagination.
Although this is the third book in the series it works well as a stand alone although I have a suspicion that children will want to collect the set. This would work equally well as a read aloud and parents may have fun recognising aspects of the story and enjoy the wit and the puns too.
You can find out more about Toto in this interview with Dermot O’Leary for The Reading Agency:
I should like to thank Fritha Lindqvist and Hachette Children’s Publishers for providing my copy for review. Toto The Ninja Cat and the Superstar Catastrophe is out now and is available to purchase online