Frans Vischer is the author of the picture book Fuddles about a pampered fat cat who longs for adventure and I love this cat! Yes, I am predisposed to adored Fuddles because I am a cat person (and a dog person!) and owner of a fat cat who was a little spoiled... But, there was something about Fuddles and the expressive way that Frans Vischer has drawn him that I was drawn to, I just wasn't sure what. After giving A Very Fuddles Christmas a few read throughs, I figured it out: I am pretty sure that Fuddles is the full-grown incarnation of the kitten from my all-time favorite Merrie Melodies cartoon starring Marc Anthony the bulldog, Feed the Kitty. Pussyfoot, also known as Cleo and Kitty in other Warner Bros. cartoons, is the adorable kitten with a proclivity for trouble that Marc Anthony falls for. After reading Frans Vischer's bio and learning that his background is in animation, this all makes perfect sense. Vischer grew up in Holland and moved here with his family when he was eleven. A visit to the Disney Studios when Vischer was thirteen turned his interest in drawing into a passion for animation, his father even building him a light-box! A meeting with THE Chuck Jones when Vischer was in college lead to a transfer to the prestigious California Institute of the Arts and a career as an animator for Disney. Vischer's long filmography includes work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Back to Neverland and The Princess and the Frog as well as The Road to El Dorado, The Simpsons and Curious George. In light of Vischer's background, I highly recommend scrolling down and enjoying the animated trailers he made for each of the Fuddles books!
A Very Fuddles Christmas begins with our hero exactly where we should expect him to be - in a state of endless spoiling. But, Fuddles's keen sense of smell leads him to discover some new things to be curious about, like a turkey dinner, presents, a gingerbread house and the Christmas tree...
Scared almost out of his skin, Fuddles zooms away from his latest curiosity-induced-chaos and zips right out the front door and into a startlingly cold and different place.
After a very circuitous, funny exploration of the yard Fuddles spots two pesky squirrels! The action escalates from there and, without giving too much away, looking at the illustration below, I think you might be able to guess how the story ends and our hero finds his way back into the warm cozy house and adoring arms of his humans. "A warm bath . . . a soft towel . . . a sweet scent . . . and a home-cooked meal - just for him," is how A Very Fuddles Christmas almost ends. The final page shows Fuddles on his bed in front of the hearth, Santa's cookies demolished, the reindeers's carrots chewed and the glass of milk drained. Good thing Santa is a pretty understanding guy and maybe even a cat owner!
I am sure that Fuddles has at least one more adventure in him and I can't wait to see it! I also can't wait to see what other characters Frans Vischer has roaming around in his imagination and hope they make it to the pages of picture books sooner than later!
The real Fuddles and his people!
Source: Review Copy