Grumpy Cat’s got nothing on Hissy Fitz, the eponymous feline of Patrick Jenning’s latest middle grade novel. Hissy lives with the Fitz family, and he loves his owner, young Georgie; she’s his favorite, and she treats Hissy just like a sibling. Unfortunately, Georgie’s actual sibling, young Zeb, lives to annoy Hissy. Zeb is noisy, rambunctious and does what little boys do.
But all Hissy wants to do is sleep. And, unfortunately, that’s about the gist of the book: Hissy gets annoyed; Hissy can’t sleep—endless loop.
Beginning readers will find the playful tug-of-war between Hissy and Zeb interesting (and the battle between Hissy and a neighborhood raccoon bandit). But the grumpier the insomniac cat gets, the more bored readers may become. There’s not much development past that thin plot line—with one exception, when all the neighborhood cats team up to play soccer in an effort to take Hissy’s mind off his insomnia and chaotic family life. It’s an odd diversion, one that makes little sense in the scheme of the book. Thin character development and a repetitive plot will have readers wishing for the Bad Kitty series.
Sharon Verbeten is a freelance writer and children’s librarian in De Pere, Wisconsin.