The Church Cat Abroad – Graham Oakley

More in the Series – The Church Mice
“More in the Series” scores the other books in a series where one (or more) of the books have made it into the 1001 Books list. Mostly because I’m a bit of a completionist. 

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 point
Variety of characters: 1 point
Good story:  2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 0 points.

I really liked the first book in this series, and, while this one does have some of the same charm, I think it falls slightly short of its predecessor. Still, it was fun to read.

There are no named female characters, so no way for it to pass the Bechdel. There are a couple of black kids in the illustration at the zoo, so I’ve given it a point for that (just because, as I’ve said before, showing any kind of diversity puts it ahead of the pack, alas). But for the most part this book is all Anglo-Saxon male, pretty much. The main characters are all animals, true, but they’re all very ‘default British male’ characters, nonetheless.

Still, it has its charms. Sampson, the cat, and his friends Arthur and Humphrey, the mice, decide to become actors to try and make enough money to fix the leaky vestry roof so that they don’t get rained on any more. They end up on a rollicking adventure to a South Seas island, get left behind, have to fool some scientists into thinking they are rare animals to get back to England, and then have to escape from the zoo to get home. It’s quite entertaining, and has all the humour (some of it definitely aimed at the adult reader) of the original.

I didn’t find it quite as perfectly executed as the first book, but it is still a charming, neat little story.

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