Nick White, Kat The Legend of Gnawbonia, Bonobo Books, 2017, 158 pp., (hbk), ISBN 9780473403249
Kat The Legend of Gnawbonia is the story of a rather sad and neglected cat who lives with her cruel brothers. Kat dreams of escape and when the opportunity finally arises, she takes off on an adventure of a lifetime with her trusty rat-friend, Pea. But all does not go well for the travellers as they venture right into the hands of some ruthless pirates.
Nick White is an artist – foremost – and the illustrations in this book are spectacular. The detail and the penmanship are exceptional and there is plenty to discover on every page. Beautifully bound, I greeted Kat The Legend of Gnawbonia with great delight. I loved the mix of presentation from graphic novel style on some pages to complex and dreamlike drawings and paintings on others – determined by the drama of the story.
However, I found it difficult to connect with the characters – even the ‘good’ ones seemed devoid of worthy attributes – and there was little light relief with which to remain hopeful for the future of Kat. There is a large amount of text in this picture book, unnecessarily so,which distracts from the flow of the story and the engagement of the reader.
Enjoy Kat The Legend of Gnawbonia for its magnificent illustrations and, of course, you may indeed enjoy the story too.
Reviewed by Jennifer Mors