I am Spartapuss by Robin Price
A lovely chap is Robin Price and I’m happy to present this, Spartapuss, a veritable plethora of pussy cat palavas and a right Roman romp!
Publisher: Mogzilla, image used with their permission
Poor Spartapuss! He used to be the manager of the best spa in town, the Spatoepia. That is, until Catligula, the Roman Emperor’s darling, came to visit. After a nasty incident involving the Emperor’s favourite, Spartapuss finds himself whisked off to be a gladiator, an almost impossible task for a scaredy-cat Kiton former manager to quite muddle through. Bewildered and confused, how will this puss cat manage to survive the arena?
Stuffed full of facts, this is a book with an impressive amount of research behind it, especially when it comes to the lives of gladiators. Price has made sure every detail of a gladiator’s life is covered, from what types of gladiators you can train to be to what they had to eat, it’s all there. In a previous life, BooKa Uhu did once study history and although I know next to nothing about Roman history I can tell when someone’s hit the books before they’ve put pen to paper. The Historian in me smiled when I read this and I do feel like I’ve come out of it knowing a wee bit more than I did to start with (and with a lot more interest in Roman history than before as well).
It’s packed full of puns too, from Spartapuss’s insistence on writing in Catin (apparently his native Kittish is too difficult to write) to his prayers to Mewpiter and even including his friend Russell the crow. Poor put-upon Spartapuss is a great comic anti-hero and I’m looking forward to more from this series! Die Clawdius and Catligula are already on their way to me and I know schools would be interested in this series to help liven up and spark interest in Roman school projects. The only downside I had for this book is that it’s quite a dense text – the spacing of the words could look a bit overwhelming when you first open the book. It didn’t make it any harder to read and there were some nice page breaks sometimes but I’m thinking that the more reluctant reader might take one look at the pages and think ‘whoa, hang on, that’s a lot to read’. Not to say that it made it any harder to read, it’s just its appearance on the page that was affected and I’m trying to look at it as a younger reader would do. Bigger spaces between each paragraph would have been the icing on this literary cake. Of course this could just be me nitpicking – personally, I can’t wait to meet Boudicat, further on in the series! Bring on the pussy cat puns!