Reviews /

Blanksy The Street Cat

Authored by Gavin Puckett
Illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan
Published by Faber & Faber

Blanksy The Street Cat: Blanksy and Pete both live on the streets and become firm friends in this funny, modern chapter book. Pete, who busks, makes enough money for food and a hostel bed for the night. However, Blanksy hatches a plan for them to earn more money: he decides to brighten up their busking space with a bright mural painted anonymously in the middle of the night. It certainly gains attention and, as more murals appear, everyone begins wondering who Blanksy is. However, this has a surprising effect on Pete – not one that Blanksy anticipated. What Pete values about his lifestyle is freedom to move and the satisfaction of chatting to people. Neither of which can be bought.

This is an early-reader chapter book but would work particularly well as a read-aloud as it is all written in rhyme. With a strong sense of rhythm, it feels pacey and less confident readers may lose this integral part of the book if reading independently. The cheeky cat’s personality is a source of humour throughout the book that adults as well as children will enjoy:

‘The cat merely shrugged and admired his work. ‘Not bad!’ he exclaimed with a mischievous smirk.

It is refreshing to read a book for children with characters who are homeless but are portrayed positively. There is certainly not a victim narrative in this story and it clearly communicates why Pete likes his lifestyle – and that it is a conscious choice. Therefore, it provides an opportunity for discussion with children about homes and how different people may choose to live.

Blanksy The Street Cat is an accessible read for the middle of the primary phase and the illustrations by Allen Fatimaharan help bring Gavin Puckett’s words alive to an even greater extent. Teachers and families will have fun reading this rhyming story to children in Years 2 and 3, whilst it would make a short independent read for Year 4 and 5.