Warduff and the Corncob Caper

Overview

Warduff is a cat who loves naps and fish cakes. It's a tough job being a lazy, hungry cat, but somebody has to do it. One evening, his aftersnack snooze is disturbed by a call from Fefferflap, a chicken at Corncob Farm. There's a fox alert and the frantic animals urgently need his help! Warduff needs to come up with an absolutely brilliant plan to outwit the wily fox, and fast!

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Overview

Warduff is a cat who loves naps and fish cakes. It's a tough job being a lazy, hungry cat, but somebody has to do it. One evening, his aftersnack snooze is disturbed by a call from Fefferflap, a chicken at Corncob Farm. There's a fox alert and the frantic animals urgently need his help! Warduff needs to come up with an absolutely brilliant plan to outwit the wily fox, and fast!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As is true for many modern heroes, the first glimpse of Warduff isn't promising: a very fat feline, he's stuffed into the top of a garbage can, sleeping off a fish-eating binge. But when the ravenous fox Snipe threatens the barnyard, the endangered animals think of calling no one else. Debut author Head has a fine sense of visual comedy. His bold black outlines and graphic environments' geometric shapes establish a mock noir mood, and his cast has an endearing air of eager anxiety crossed with cluelessness—bringing to mind a cross between Sandra Boynton and Aardman, the British animation studio responsible for Wallace and Gromit. Clearly a talented illustrator, Head's first outing as an author shows some promise in that department, too. Though his prose can be overly literal ("Hooray for Warduff and his brilliant plan!"), and the big reveal of how repurposed sweet corn can defeat a foe is a stretch, he ably builds suspense during the climactic scenes ("Deeper and darker went the trail. Then suddenly...") ensuring read-aloud enjoyment as Snipe gets what's coming to him. Ages 4–9. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
We meet Warduff, a chubby cat, peacefully snoozing atop a trashcan, unaware of a nearby poster warning of a fox. He is awakened by a distress call from a chicken at Corncob Farm, who reports that a fox is on the way. Warduff calms down the animals and ponders, until he comes up with a plan. Snipe the fox, meanwhile, has his own plan for the night. As he enters the barnyard, he spots a tasty-looking mouse. Geoffrey the mouse leads Snipe on a chase through the dark fields. Suddenly Geoffrey is gone, and Snipe is confronted by what appears to be a huge monster that threatens to munch him. Snipe runs off, and the animals laugh as they wave the corncobs used in Warduff's successful plan. The end pages show sweeping landscapes: the front shows a morning scene of rolling hills with a fox tail peeking out from a dip in the road and the back a night scene with a distant impression of the celebrating animals. In between are Head's crisp black-and-white, cartoon-like line drawings, scanned, colored, and rendered in Photoshop for single- and double-page illustrations. The images are designed for fun; the varying typefaces add a comic touch. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews

A group of anthropomorphized farm animals threatened by a fox turn to a clever cat to protect them.

A straightforward plot propels this British import briskly through an eventful evening. Warduff, a fat black cat whose torn ear suggests a violent past, wakes to a call from Fefferflap the goose. A fox has been seen slinking around. Somewhat unexpectedly, Warduff uses brains, not brawn, to come up with a plan to scare away the fox and keep the animals safe. Much of the humor and nuance come from Head's digitally created illustrations. Warduff's phone, for example, is of the simple can-and-string variety (the can's label reads "Fatty Cat Mouse Morsels in Fish Jelly"), while the receiver clutched by Fefferflap appears to be a miniature pink pig with a very long curly tail. Head employs simple silhouettes and stylized shapes to create his animal characters and pastoral landscape. All of the animals have wide, staring eyes, which convey a surprising range of emotions. Unfortunately, the illustration of the clever trick that convinces Snipe the fox to hightail it out of town may not work quite as well for readers, but they'll still be tickled by the elaborate planning of "Operation Corncob."

Funny names and fanciful language are bolstered by droll drawings to create a generally pleasing if not especially memorable rustic escapade. (Picture book. 4-9)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761380955
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.60 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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