Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers

This is the second of Sam Lloyd’s Mr Pusskins books.  Having learned his lesson and realised that his life with Emily is something to be treasured, Mr Pusskins is not quite prepared for a new challenge in the shape of Little Whiskers.

Life for Emily and Mr Pusskins is perfect. They are very happy together and Mr Pusskins is especially excited when Emily announces that she has a fabulous surprise for him.  He is less excited, however, when the contents of the enormous box turns out to be a small, white kitten.

Little Whiskers makes Mr Pusskins’ life miserable.  She ruins telly time, meal time, nap time – you name it, she interferes with it.  The final straw comes when she starts dancing on the piano in the middle of the night – and Mr Pusskins gets blamed.  What can Mr Pusskins do to get rid of the pesky kitten?  And will her conscience get the better of her?

Mr Pusskins is a great character and Sam Lloyd’s illustrations convey his personality with style and humour.  By turns perplexed, horrified, angry and distressed, he goes through all the emotions you would naturally associate with welcoming a troublesome new addition into the family: Mr Pusskins and Little Whiskers is in fact a well-disguised new baby book.  The presence of Little Whiskers destabilises Mr Pusskins’ entire existence; not only are his favourite times interrupted and disrupted but his very position in the household is threatened when he is mistakenly banished outside and Little Whiskers steals his place by the fire.  This is an honest and probably therapeutic look at what happens to a young child when they are no longer the only one.  Mr Pusskins’ bewilderment at being asked to look after and play with someone who causes him so much grief will no doubt be familiar to frustrated 2 and 3 year olds.  They may be unable to articulate their feelings but the book permits those emotions and acknowledges them, rather than pretending that this lifechanging event is an unimitigated pleasure.  Older children will identify with the unwanted responsibilty they may feel as a new big brother or sister.  In the end, apologies and forgiveness are exchanged and Mr Pusskins shows us it is possible to make a successful transition from two to three people.

A clever, funny and engaging story; one to give to and enjoy with newly appointed big brothers and sisters.

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