Lombardo, Constance. Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat to the Stars
September 29th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Mr. Puffball has always dreamed of being a movie stars, just like his idol, El Gato. He practices at home, but eventually realized he must travel to Hollywood to make his dreams come true. After a long trip west (which he documents with postcards to his mother), he first ends up with a bunch of hobo cats. They soon send him on his way. Unsure of where to start, Mr. Puffball is lucky enough to run into a group of former movie cats who help him learn to sing, dance, and style his look. He goes on auditions, and is eventually cast as an extra in a movie starring El Gato. Trying to impress the movie star cat, Mr. Puffball climbs on a pile of boxes, falls spectacularly, and is cast as El Gato's stunt double. El Gato has some lindsay Lohan type problems with being overly demanding and difficult to work with, but Mr. Puffball saves him, and the two work together to increase Mr. Puffball's Hollywood credentials.
Strengths: This is a notebook novel, with lots of drawings of Mr. Puffball and his adventures. There is a glossary at the end with the Hollywood references and vocabulary. There's a lot of humor and plays on titles and actor's names. Much more plot than many notebook novels.
Weaknesses: Might go over the heads of many middle grade readers.
What I really think: The blurbs for this claim it would be good for readers who like Stick Dog or Timmy Failure, but this wouldn't quite work for Stick Dog fans, who tend to be MUCH younger. This was an odd book, best understood by readers who know a lot of Hollywood history. Maybe it's just my students who are odd, but none of them ever ask for books about the theater or movies. Will pass.