by Joann Sfar
Publication: Pantheon, 2005
Ages 9 and up
The sequel to Sfarís graphic novel about a talking cat.
One good volume deserves another, as the Parisian Sfar (The Professorís Daughter, 2007, etc.) extends the adventures of a rabbi, his daughter and their unnamed cat, who discovered the ability to speak (not always truthfully) after swallowing his masterís parrot. Once again the setting is 1930s Algeria, the French colonial homeland where the family has returned after a trip to Paris. The reader finds that the daughterís recent marriage is even more strained, and that the Jewish community has begun to experience a growing swell of anti-Semitism. When the cat isnít mediating between the bride, her inattentive husband (also a rabbi, but a more modern-minded one) and her kindly father, the talking feline discovers the surprising truth about Malka of the Lions (the elder rabbiís cousin, more myth than man in the first volume) and embarks on a journey across Africa. Metaphysical slapstick abounds as the cat proves wiser in the ways of the world (and perhaps in the ways of the Torah as well) than three generations of rabbis and those who would try to follow a religious life. In the process, the cat apparently helps bring a young painter back from the dead, further complicating the daughterís marriage, when what she considers art, while posing for the painter, her husband condemns as idolatry. Ultimately, the painterís African pilgrimage sparks a mixed-race romance with a sensuality that puts the daughterís passionless marriage to shame.-- Kirkus Review