Binky the Space Cat (A Binky Adventure) by Ashley Spires
Binky the Space Cat is a perfect for readers making the transition to chapter books, whatever their age! Lots of beginning readers become used to using pictures to help them figure out what is going on in a story. Reading a book that is pure unrelieved text can make for a tough transition. Graphic novels (selected at the right reading level, of course) are a great step. There are still lots of pictures giving readers valuable clues about the story, but they don’t have the same stigma of a Step into Reading book and they seem more grown up than picture books. Plus, everyone knows that graphic novels are cool!
Binky is a normal house cat who just happens to have a fascination with outer space. He’s determined that his humans need protecting from aliens (who have invaded their own and who the humans refer to as “bugs”) and has dreams of becoming a space cat. When his Space Cat certification arrives in the mail, Binky both plans for the future and reflects on all the reasons he became a space cat.
While Binky isn’t entirely free of potty humor (there’s a litter box mention or two and a few farts), it generally relies on more sophisticated humor. Often the humor is in the human reader knowing better than Binky. Spires manages to work in tons of onomatopoeia which is a fun touch. The story is told mainly through captions because Binky, being a cat, doesn’t talk.
Age Recommendation: Grades 1-3. Binky’s actually great for a wide range of readers. Even Kindergarteners or younger children who are advanced readers will enjoy his wild cat antics, while readers up to fourth grade who may struggle with reading will enjoy the comics and humor. The typical advanced first grader through beginning third grader will find this book to be just right.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – A cat is shown with a limp mouse in its mouth. Hissing and scratching are mentioned as punishments. Binky is showing fighting an “alien”. Binky imagines himself bound and gagged by aliens. Binky imagines his humans tied up by aliens.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.