by Meg Welch Dendler
Serenity Mountain Publishing.
. ((no illustrations received)
Back Cover: How can a young cat pick between everything she has ever wanted and everyone she has ever loved? Kimba lives the care-free life of a much loved house cat, but what she really wants is freedom and the wild life for which she was born. Then she learns a secret that changes everything, including her destiny. Will she join this mysterious cat conspiracy? Kimba must choose between the freedom she craves and the human family she loves.
Opening: “Some cats are born on earth and never know who they really are. Others are sent. They are undercover for their years on earth. They know who they are.”
The story is an interesting concept. Cats are not animals of the Earth, but aliens who, for whatever reason, intend to overtake the world from humans. Starting with the introduction of two kittens, Hiro and Kimba, the story goes on to convince one that Regulas is in control and she should go along with the plan for cats all over the world. Regulas does not give a reason why he wants cats to take over or what they will do once that has happened. Hiro worries about what will happen to their family, “Daddy” in particular.
Kimba has no such relationship with anyone in the house, though she does tend to tolerate “Mama’s” attention. The first half of the story is about Hiro and Kamba’s first year. On page 53—chapter 10—the antagonist is finally introduced. This is much too late in the story. Kimba’s assignments seem innocent. One is to rub fur on every human family member so that Regulas—the head cat—can monitor each person’s movements, like a furry GPS system. That one is clever.
Not until thirty pages later is the real conflict, the real plot of the story told to readers. The cats in the mirror want to take over the world. Regulas claims to have “guided humans” in the creation of technology. Then why do the cats need help using it for their own devices? Kimba needs to get Mama’s password or “code” for Facebook, the platform the cats will use to take over.
The problem I have with this potentially good story is that it drags. In fiction, I like the rollercoaster ride that comes from mini conflicts that challenge and change the protagonist. Why Kimba Saved the World is more of a journal about these two cats, Hiro and Kimba—real life cats of the author—rather than a fantasy. Once Kimba understands the mission, she continues to comply even though Hiro gives her wonderful reasons not to. The most agitation this causes Kimba is a bit of worry. She worries about everything and then proceeds to follow orders, then worries again, obeys orders, worries, obeys, worries, obeys.
Finally, at the end, after Kimba has the password of Mama’s Facebook account she . . . obeys, once again. Oh, she worried about following through, but it was clear she would comply. Before the task is completed, Kimba finally reconsiders. Still, the ending was not satisfying, though it does lead to the next book in the ongoing series. Why (did) Kimba Saved the World? She does not. Turns out her action alone did not stop the alien cats from taking over. Several cats around the world apparently did not complete the task. The hero is not the hero, but one of many.
The author knows how to write and her words are kid-sized, as they should be. No punctuation or grammar errors are noticeable. Sentences read well and chapters were not long. The author took the admonition to edit and for this, I strongly applaud her. The story has promise, but if each book is about Regulas trying to bring in a different cat—the author has many—it will get predictable, fast. I recommended using actual illustrations and not pictures of the author’s cats and family. This is one big reason the book felt like a journal during the long first half. Also, use a prologue or an epilogue, but not both.
As the author’s debut, Why Kimba Saved the World is a noble start. The author wrote about which she knew and is that not what aspiring authors are told to do? She understands cats better than most and is good at describing their movements. The idea of cats taking over the world is a good premise. Add a little humor, a few more edits, a little more distance between author and subject, and get the story’s main conflict and antagonist into the story faster and this author will be on her way to a wonderful career.
Serenity Mountain Publishing
Released February 5, 2013
Age 7 to 9
WHY KIMBA SAVED THE WORLD. Text & photographs copyright © 2013 by Meg Welch Dendler. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Serenity Mountain Publishing, Eureka Springs, AK
- Featured Review of Vacation Hiro (Cats in the Mirror) by Meg Welch Dendler (arkansasbookreviewer.com)
- Why Kimba saved the World (merrymeerkatmarginalia.com)