Tales from the Campaign Trail: Bad Kitty for President by Nick Bruel
NEXT WEEK, OLD KITTY WILL LEAVE OFFICE* AND GIVE UP HIS ROLE AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD CAT CLUB.
WHY? IT'S NOT JUST BECAUSE HE'S OLD AND TIRED. IT'S ALSO BECAUSE HE WILL HAVE SERVED TWO FULL TERMS IN OFFICE WHICH IS THE LONGEST ANY KITTY IS ALLOWED TO BE PRESIDENT.
And that means... Bad Kitty's moment has come. She had wisdom. She has a persuasive personality. (Mwroour! Hiss! FFFTTT!) And she has an issue--the invasion of her neighborhood by stray cats who seem to be occupying the trash cans along the street. And it seems she has a wily and wise campaign manager, her ever-patient owner who is more than willing to instruct her in the ways of politics.
First, he explains, there is that little matter of an ELECTION!
WHY, EVEN BEFORE YOU GET ELECTED TO BE PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE TO WIN ANOTHER ELECTION JUST SO YOU CAN HAVE THE HONOR OF RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
The ever-willing Uncle Murray steps in to offer technical advice on little items like running for the nomination of your party. Party affiliations are easy to establish--right and left, right? Right and left sides of the street in this case. Bad Kitty soon has a rival for the nomination from the other side--BIG Kitty, who is the winner, paws down in the contest for BABY kissing (just as soon as Baby is done with her her French fries). Now it's on to the general election.
Just when Bad Kitty is getting down and dirty at the grassroots (NO! KITTY, NO! That's NOT what I meant!) another political consultant is called in to draw the veil over that scene, Edna Prunelove, who comes forth to offer campaign advice, and Bad Kitty, done with her digging, is off to try to garner an endorsement from Old Kitty and do some door-to-door campaigning. Chatty Kitty is all too eager to talk, but when opponent Big Kitty opens his door, Bad Kitty is so enraged by his imperturbability (whatcha bet his fur never moves in a hurricane?) and annoying Stepford cat smile, that she goes into one of her famous cat fits.
"MEOWR FFT FFT HISS SPIT REOWR!"
The next thing she knows the photo of her little off-message gaff is on the front page with the headline...
HISSY-FIT! CAT CANDIDATE FREAKS OUT!
...and the video is on the nightly news and going viral on VueTube. Bad Kitty fires her campaign manager.
But Uncle Murry steps into the breach with a little consulting on raising funds for the media campaign--complete with the skinny on PACs and 527 Groups, and soon Bad Kitty has the funds to come up with her own image-morphing video suggesting that Big Kitty is a not just a dog of a candidate but is perhaps an dog in kitty clothing! This campaign is proving full of dirty tricks...and then comes the big DEBATE, moderated by Strange Kitty, who suddenly seems more normal than the two candidates.
At long last comes the actual election day. But, whoa! There are challenges to a voter's registration, and some strange ballot irregularities, and the outcome is clouded, and then... the missing absentee vote turns up just as the polls are about to close!
If all of this sounds more than vaguely familiar to those of us who are worn out with robo-calls, it all points to the comic skills of Bad Kitty's quirky creator, Nick Bruel, whose newest, Bad Kitty for President (Roaring Brook, 2012), somehow manages to make the electoral process pointedly hilarious.
With this chapter book format that takes his cranky Kitty into new territory, populated by both beginning chapter primary readers just venturing out of the picture book phase and older middle readers who may have thought they were too mature for Bad Kitty books. Bruel continues to create comic publications that engage readers, from preschoolers to adults, in laugh-out loud stories. His forte lies equally in his comic art skills and in his keen comic sense that poignantly pokes gentle fun at both kitty and human foibles. "With their trademark wit, Bruel and his bad Kitty are back," says Booklist's reviewer of Bruel's latest.