Captain Cat is a crazy-eyed, cat-lovin', Santa-bearded old sailing man. After a lifetime as a sort of less-than mediocre trader (he tends to swap valuable goods for worthless felines), Captain Cat decides it's finally time to see the places on his bucket list. Blown way off course by a really nicely drawn storm, he and his crowd of cats fetch up at a sweet, wealthy, rat-infested remote island presided over by a skinny-legged wild-haired Queen. With her unhinged grin and mens' shoes, the Queen is kind of like a tropical Pippi.
MAN this is a great story. I'm not kidding.
So the cats kill all the rats, and they love the island, and the Queen loads Captain Cat up with pearls and rubies in gratitude. The Captain returns to his home port, where all the other traders ogle his treasure, and immediately hightail it to the island. The Queen gets a bike, and oil paints, and rich silks, "which she had made up immediately into ra-ra skirts" - my kind of girl, but when it comes time to pay the traders for their goods, what do you think the Queen values most?
Inga Moore is extremely skilled with the pen and the ink. I feel like maybe I've seen her work illustrating chapter books or on covers - oh of course, she did that gorgeous The Wind in the Willows a few years back. Her drawings are full of detail and naturalistic texture, great expressions, stunning landscape... and there are just a couple of things to point out in particular:
- The blue-green, white, gray, black and blue ocean.
- A lot of cats, all different, all in athletic, accurate poses.
- Birds - seagulls parked on the wind, songbirds alight.
- Goats. This is an island with random goats - lots of islands are like that. People should hone their goat-drawing skills and then add goats into most of their drawings.
It's a new tale for the ages. It's terrific.