Katrina von Cat, The Master of Wisdom and Knowledge, lives comfortably in her house, living by her own rules, and contemplating what to do about the newcomer. After three years she decides she must break silence and ask him his name and breed, and tell him to stop eating her food. She does so by letter, and so begins The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets. Stanley replies (by letter) that he is a black Labrador/Rottweiler cross, and no, he won’t stop eating her food. Katrina escalates the feud but it all ends happily enough and the pets rub along, even enjoying each other’s company at times.
The story is wittily told through the exchange of letters with occasional interruptions from a narrator, whose role is then usurped by a neighbouring bluebird, a guinea pig and even Stanley and Katrina themselves. The characterisation is first class, most of the writing is excellent, with believable narrative and situations at once instantly recognisable and refreshingly new. The author has a knack of showing the mundane through a fresh pair of eyes, making the reader delight in a different perspective on familiar themes – like the Christmas tree and playing in snow.
My boys have asked me to read them their favourite bit many times, but then, they didn’t know any other guinea pigs in literature and have become firm fans of astronaut Zorg.
The Pet Paper (from Kitty Hall) near the end was a masterstroke of twist in the tale, and I’m looking forward to the next episode from Stanley and Katrina’s pen. Well done to their trainers!