‘The Fuzzy Princess: Volume 1’ - Trade Paperback Review

Charles Brubaker, the creator of the advice column styled Ask a Cat trade paperback (Check out my review here.), has returned with a new collection published by Smallbug Press. The Fuzzy Princess: Volume 1 collects the first seven issues of eight stories that follows Princess “Kat” Katrina from St. Paws.

In the first story, “The Fuzzy Trio Has Arrived,” readers are introduced to Kat and her companions, a bat named Chiro and a bear named Kuma, as they fly across the sky in a bejeweled-looking cardboard box. Meanwhile on Earth, Brubaker unfolds the story of Jackson being tormented by a gang whose ringleader goes by the name Bloated Whale. (He apparently does not like his given name.) Kat and her friends become separated when Kat and her box fall to Earth, hitting Bloated Whale on the head. Kat is no ordinary cat; she can talk, sometimes daring anyone to defy her, and she can detach her magic tail, making it into anything she wants – a bat, a belt, or whatever the moment requires. Subsequent stories introduce new characters, notably Krisa the rat spy and Jackson’s friend, Gladdie.

One of the strengths of The Fuzzy Princess is the characters. Brubaker is skillful at creating a cohesive ensemble that breathes life into this collection of stories. Kat is a precocious and daring young princess. She is personable, loyal to her friends, and she has personal strength that results in her being a strong female character. To balance her personality, Jackson has less confidence and is fearful of Bloated Whale who has been bullying Jackson for using his real name by mistake. Jackson develops a friendship with Kat which is a cornerstone of The Fuzzy Princess. The supporting cast provides a rich tapestry of characters so that readers can readily identify with some or all of them. Brubaker’s stories of childhood experiences encapsulate the spirit of innocence, so there’s a charming appeal about this collection.

Brubaker’s black-and-white illustrations visually convey the playfulness of Kat, Jackson, and the rest of cast in The Fuzzy Princess. His panel formats and composition of the characters complement the beats of the stories. Additionally, the illustrations are clean and consistent. The lettering is easy to read and the placement of the speech bubbles are placed well and do not distract or cover important details in each panel.

The Fuzzy Princess is an adorably fun book. As mentioned above, there is such a variety of characters that, while they are not deeply constructed, are still quirky and delightful. While cat lovers will find this book witty and perhaps a reminder to childhood shenanigans, this book could easily be one that a parent can read aloud to their child at bedtime; hence, The Fuzzy Princess is for all ages. If you like Brubaker’s wit, then definitely check out Ask a Cat in addition to this lovely, little book.

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