02 February 2008


by Richard Harland

Scholastic Omnibus. Junior fiction, Australian. paperback rrp $15.99

What if your young reader wants a horror story? You will want them to begin gently – something a bit scary but not enough to keep them awake and worrying all night.

Sassycat is the perfect book to introduce children to literature with a spine-tingling edge.
It is a clever mix of horror and humour, told from the cat’s eye view. Any cat owner will immediately recognise the heroine, Sassycat, a vain, self-interested cat who writes poems extolling her own virtues. She does, however, love her owner, Rebecca, someone almost sensible enough to be a cat – with a little training from Sassycat, of course.

When the family moves, Sassycat must find her place in a new environment. When she arrogantly ignores the advice of the local animals, her foolish actions cause the death of Shanks, the cemetery guardian cat. Now the ghosts can cross over the adjoining creek, putting her beloved Rebecca, in mortal danger.

Rebecca is troubled by recurring nightmares. The shapes are beginning to move towards her. Sassycat must put aside self-interest and learn to be part of a team, working with the other animals to save Rebecca and the neighbourhood from the evil black shapes.

I heard Richard Harland read a few pages at a seminar and was immediately caught up in the frantic action. I just had to read the whole book and bought it the next day.

Sassycat won a 2006 Book Council award. It’s not hard to see why. While not for the easily frightened, Sassycat is an exciting read and cat lovers will wish they had a pet just like her.


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