Phatty is a tabby cat who lives a luxurious life with his brothers Clyde and Stanley in a New York City apartment overlooking Central Park. Phatty is usually scared and uncoordinated but is friendly and caring. Every year Phatty looks forward to his friend Payaso visiting for the summer. Payaso is well traveled, knows different languages and a lot about how things work. One day, an escaped hawk from teh zoo, Crawler comes to visit Phatty's window. He threatens to hurt Phatty, Clyde and Stanly and steal their mother's jewels. Phatty decides to overcome his fear and take care of Crawler. He escapes to Central Park in hopes of finding Crawler's zoo keeper. Phatty's friends race after him with the help of a boy named Max who can communicate in a different way and understands the animals. Together, the friends will go on an adventure overcoming their fears.
An exciting adventure through the eyes of animals that revolves around conquering your fears, friendship and being your best self. In the vein of A Pet's Life, The Adventures of Phatty and Payaso: Central Park focuses on what the pets do when the humans are not around. I think the middle grade audience would enjoy the variety of characters and their interactions. Phatty is encouraged by his friends to come up with ideas to fend off Crawler as well as overcome his fears. When Phatty is exploring Central Park he is able to learn even more about himself through the eyes of the many animals that live there in addition to making some new friends. I loved the addition of Max as well, a boy who seems have autism, though it is never mentioned. He has trouble communicating with people, but can talk with animals just fine. He shines as he helps the pets solve a series of problems as they track Phatty through Central Park. Another important part of the story was the treatment of Crawler's character. Although he was the bully of the story, the characters were able to realize the deeper reason for his actions and help him rather than retaliate. Overall, a fun animal adventure with plenty of life lessons for a middle grade reader.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.