Monday, November 14, 2016

Breaking Cat News by Georgia Dunn

Reviewed by Jeanne and Ambrea, with a note from Kristin

The subtitle of the book is “Cats Reporting on the News That Matters to Cat” and that pretty much sums up the premise of this collection of strips.  Most of the action centers on our three star reporters: Siamese Elvis, who takes a dim view of any sort of change and is very protective of The Woman; sweet, sensitive black cat Puck, whose empathy is only matched by his love for bacon; and Lupin, a deaf white cat who is nonetheless a Cat of Adventure, prone to exploring the dark reaches of the under the sink or the laundry room.  The cats are drawn in little suits and ties, with a news desk from which they report on a spider on the ceiling, the discovery of a treasure trove of ancient cat artifacts underneath the couch, The Man taking a shower, and the 2 a.m. Running of the Cats.  But they don’t stop there:  they do investigative reporting as well.  My personal favorite is their incisive and thorough search for the answer to that human posed question, “Who’s a good boy?”  (Puck:  “Lupin, new evidence suggests that it’s me!”)
Investigating the mystery of the Red Dot
 The art is warm and whimsical, with many charming little touches: the reporters all have coffee mugs with “CN” printed on them, charts to explain things such “What’s in Cans” (answer: almost always cat food), and there’s the occasional “news crawl” across the bottom of the panel.

Most people who know me know that I love cats and comic strips, so the fact that I love Breaking Cat News should come as no surprise.  Like all my favorite strips, there’s a bit more to it than three panels and a joke.  The cats are truly puzzled by some of their surroundings and interpret them in cat-like ways.  There’s the mystery of the human infant, for example, whose “alarm” keeps going off in the middle of the night, but who may actually have feelings.  (Elvis is skeptical.) I’ve been following the strip online for well over a year, and some of the strips have been very poignant and thoughtful.  There’s an underlying gentleness along with the humor which reminds me of the wonderful strip Mutts by Patrick McDonnell:  both have been known to bring a tear to my eye as well as a smile. 
Reporters gather at the water cooler

If you’ve never encountered BCN, then this book is a wonderful introduction.  If you’re already a fan, then this is a lovely way to keep physical copies of favorite strips.  The strips can be found online at or at  Ms. Dunn is trying to syndicate the strip, so it may also be coming to a newspaper near you!

(Note:  I reviewed Mutts previously here.)

The weather is cloudy with a chance of chickadees.

Breaking Cat News is an adorable collection of comics by Georgia Dunn that follows the adventures—or, more accurately, the misadventures—of a quirky feline trio.  There’s sweet, lovable Puck; adventurous and gregarious little Lupin; and loyal, if perennially grumpy, Elvis.  Together, they—along with Tommy, the cat from the backyard, the “Ceiling Cats” (i.e. the cats that live on the floor above), and the other outdoor cats—make up Breaking Cat News, reporting on news that matters to cats.  They report on new toys, packing peanuts (a favorite), the Red Dot, empty food bowls, cooking bacon, and, most importantly, the Biannual 2 a.m. Running of the Cats.

Without a doubt, Breaking Cat News is one of the cutest comic collections I’ve had the pleasure to read.  Like my coworkers, I appreciated the touches of humor and heart that made me feel as warm and fuzzy as the blankets the cats adore.   Plus I loved the variety of characters, loved the ways the cats interacted and communicated.  I especially loved Tommy and the “Ceiling Cats,” Tabitha (who is positively fearless—and, moreover, has caught the Red Dot) and Sir Figaro Newton.  They were delightful additions to the cast, and I laughed over their regular encounters with Elvis, Lupin, and Puck.

Truthfully, this is a wonderful collection and I can’t wait to read more from Georgia Dunn.

Reading time.

Kristin:  All I can add is, "Two paws up!"  Or should that be "Four paws up?"

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