Barney Willow is absolutely, positively convinced that life would be SO much better if he were a cat. A cat's life would be so much easier than his own, he wouldn't have to deal with bullies, mean teachers, having to walk his dog in the rain, or that fact that his dad just up and disappeared one day. But Barney had better be careful what he wishes for. . . because it just might happen!
Barney thinks being a cat would be easier than being a twelve-year-old boy. But when his feline fantasy comes true, the fur starts flying in this darkly hilarious and heartwarming tale.
Cats have it made. They laze in sun patches, are showered with affection by loving humans, can cough up hairballs wherever they want, and never have to wonder why their dad disappeared one day and never came back. It’s clearly much easier to be a cat than to be a middle school boy.
So when Barney Willow wishes he could be a cat, and gets his wish, he should be thrilled. Except he’s not. He discovers that not all cats are cute and cuddly, and some of them are downright evil. He discovers that his own mother can’t see past the whiskers to recognize her darling son. Worst of all, he discovers that his life is in grave danger…and he doesn’t have eight lives to spare.
Matt Haig’s first novel for young readers, Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest, won the UK’s Blue Peter Book of the Year Award and the Gold Smarties Award. He is also the author of various adult novels, including The Labrador Pact and The Radleys. Reviewers have called his writing “totally engrossing,” “touching, quirky and macabre,” and “so surprising and strange it vaults into a realm of his own.” His books have been translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in York, England, and assures us he has never, ever been a cat—despite rumors that he was once a rather grumpy ginger tabby named Jeffrey.
Stacy Curtis finds it purr-fectly impawsible he’s ever been a cat. He is, however, a cartoonist, illustrator, printmaker, and twin who has illustrated more than twenty-five books for children, including the New York Times bestseller The 7 Habits of Happy Kids. He and his wife, Jann, life in the Chicago area and happily share their home with two dogs, Derby and Inky, and no cats.
"Peppered with quirky illustrations, the story features extreme characters and circumstances in the tradition of Roald Dahl.... Haig's cautionary tale is a unique one, and Barney's struggles will be understood by readers who are uncomfortable in their own skin."
"Barney wasn’t all that happy as a 12-year-old boy. First his dad moved out of the house, then disappeared altogether. His mum seems rushed and preoccupied. The school bully victimizes him mercilessly, and the principal regards him as her personal enemy. Still, after wishing to be a cat and magically becoming one, Barney desperately wants his old life back. Wishing got him into his predicament, but it’s just not enough to get him out of it. The plot takes some unexpected turns...the telling is engaging, and its generally light tone gives readers hope, even at the darkest moments. Barney makes a sympathetic protagonist, both as a boy and as a cat. Witty and sometimes exaggerated ink drawings with gray washes capture human expressions and feline body language with equal facility, and the jacket art is sure to attract readers."