We’re kicking off Beautiful British Columbia : A Reading Staycation with a bang! Our first book comes to us from the pride of Ladner, talented author-illustrator Ashley Spires. If you haven’t heard of Binky the Space Cat, you’d better fix that, pronto. This fun series of early graphic novels features Binky, a house cat who’s convinced that he’s actually a space cat, charged by a secret organization with the protection of his human family. Armed with space cat technology, Binky fights off evil aliens (which look remarkably like houseflies), keeping his house and his family safe. Is Binky really a space cat, or he is just a frisky feline with a very fanciful imagination? You decide!
Ashley Spires has created several books about Binky the Space Cat, and the character remains one of B.C.’s most recognizable literary exports. Binky the Space Cat was nominated for the 2011 Silver Birch Express Award and the 2011 Hackmatack Award, and there are six Binky titles in the series.
Spires has recently introduced a spin-off series of graphic novels featuring Fluffy Vandermere, the cat sergeant in charge of P.U.R.S.T. (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel), which are just as weird and hilarious as you might expect.
Cleverly illustrated with charming animal characters and silly, sly text, Binky the Space Cat is highly appealing to emerging readers, and acts as a great introduction to the graphic novel medium.
On a related note, I just had to include this quote from a review of the sequel Binky to Rescue I found on Amazon:
This is a Canadian children’s series, which makes for some interesting comparisons. The Canadians are different from you and me. They have a bit of a European sensibility to their comics. For the most part Binky is like any other comic you might name, though shots of his rear are amusingly French. He also seems to suffer from a bit of space gas, but a big deal isn’t made about this. If you have kids that are desperate to find fart jokes in all their literature then I’m sure they’ll be adequately amused by the little “poooot!” but for other readers it will hardly register.
Yes, dear readers, we Canadians are indeed different.