Allen & Unwin, 2015
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Rex is the most dazzling cat on Serengeti Street and has been for years. Proud and majestic, and maybe brave, he is a superstar. Grooming himself to perfection, he goes out onto the footpath to wait for the kids on their way to school. While he waits, he practises his dance steps ready to accept their accolades with aplomb. But just as they arrive, an interloper arrives and puts on her own show. Pretty Pamela is going to outdo Remarkable Rex. Even though he pretends to ignore her, deep down he is worried. Perhaps he is no longer the star of Serengeti Street! Until suddenly the show is interrupted as Towser escapes and chases the cats. Rex heads up the nearest tree while Pamela races off. But this is not the end of Rex’s troubles…
Even though his career spans 40 years and 380 titles, this is the first book that Craig Smith has both written and illustrated and it’s delightful, full of his signature humour and quirkiness. From the masterful portrait of one who knows his own magnificence on the front cover, to the enchanting endpapers which reinforce Rex’s position in the neighbourhood to the vignettes of Rex’s preparation for his fans, Smith has captured the mood and manners of this fabulous feline perfectly. In fact, Shaun Tan says, “You will not find a more charming, sympathetic or beautifully drawn examination of complete feline (and completely human) self-obsession.”
Young readers will absolutely love Rex – they will laugh out loud and hold their breath and then ponder at the ending. Rex may well be remarkable, but so is this book!!