Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens
John Patrick Green put a surprising animal into the job market in Hippopotamister, and it was fun. His next book, Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens, uses even cuter animals in even weirder work.
The city wants to build a new mayor’s mansion. Marmalade, an orange cat, is an architect and provides the best design, but the (human) city planner rejects it because it was provided by a “cute little kitten”. He says, “I regret that you are just too adorable to be taken seriously.”
Marmalade is determined. She meets another cat who happens to be an electrical engineer, but he can only get work as a dishwasher. They team up and persevere through a number of obstacles to follow their dreams. Mostly, they can’t do what they want — and are trained — to do because everyone is distracted by how adorable they are. No one will acknowledge that the cats know what they’re doing because of how they look. (But they will hire them for grunt work.) This isn’t a totally bad problem to have, since the reader will agree, they are very cute. (We’re part of the problem!)
Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens is an odd little book. The fantasy of cats doing construction jobs is silly fun, but the emotions run the gamut, as the reader shares Marmalade’s frustration at wanting to use her training and degree but being told she can’t. Determination, creativity, and teamwork are fine messages, but how did a cat in a people world get an architecture degree, anyway? Wouldn’t she have run into this issue during that process? (If I am overthinking, it’s because I sympathized with and was rooting for Marmalade and her friends that much.)
The story has a simplified layout, with most pages having only one or two panels, but the images are dense with detail. The one-panel pages are reserved for the most important or cutest images, with kittens licking plates clean or working construction wearing hard hats.
Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens will be published on September 4. It’s recommended for ages 6-10. It can be preordered now from your local comic shop with Diamond code JUL18 1919. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)