CatNinja: Time Heist by Matthew Cody,  illustrated by Chad Thomas


CatNinja: Time Heist by Matthew Cody,  illustrated by Chad Thomas. Andrews McMeel, 2021. 9781524867584

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

Format: Paperback graphic novel

Genre: Science fiction/fantasy

What did you like about the book?  CatNinja returns for another exciting installment, aided by his (former) evil nemesis Mr. Squeaks (a hamster), his two human owners (Leon and Marcie), and a new ally named Hoot (a baby owl). Once again, CatNinja’s alter ego is a mild-mannered housecat named Claude, who never speaks. After a few short warm-up adventures, the band of heroes travels through time to reunite Hoot with her parents in order to defeat the Cuckoo. Everything I liked about the first book is here too: the dry wit, the colorful and zippy artwork, the sophisticated-yet-easy-to-follow panel design, and a lot of heart. If you’re not a fan of gross-out humor, CatNinja is the saga for you. Mr. Squeaks interjects plenty of funny and clever asides that never veer toward the bathroom. The emphasis on family (whatever that looks like) and the kids’ wistful look into the future to see if their divorced parents reconcile gives the story a satisfying resonance. It’s great to see a single, working mom as the head of the family (wearing her hospital scrubs). The kids have black hair and light brown skin, which does contrast with other characters’ lighter and darker skin tones; CatNinja lives in a diverse cartoon neighborhood.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I did not find the time travel story easy to follow; in fact, I preferred the shorter pieces that came before it, featuring a crazy trip to the aquarium and the nefarious Combat Wombat. But then, time travel is always a tricky plot to pull off and young readers probably won’t care that it’s chaotic and messy.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Graphic novel readers grades 3-8. Fans of Dog Man or The Bad Guys would be a natural audience.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Graphic novels

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: December 19, 2021

This entry was posted in *Book Review, Chad Thomas, Fantasy, Graphic novel, Matthew Cody, Pets, Science Fiction, Superhero, Time-travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.