Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mimi's Dada Catifesto by Shelley Jackson

I wish this book had been around when I first read Rats Saw God. I mean, not that there's ever a bad time to go back and read Rats Saw God, but since I knew very little about dadaism then, this would have helped immensely. And made me smile, to boot.

Mimi's Dada Catifesto by Shelley Jackson is narrated by Mimi, a poor alley cat with an artist's soul. The other cats don't understand Mimi's need not just for a human who will feed her stomach, but who will feed her curiosity and need to create art. Her perfect human is Mr. Dada. After all, a man who balances a very tasty-looking fish on top of his head while yelling nonsense syllables must have the artist soul Mimi seeks in her human. Mr. Dada is a hard nut to crack, but Mimi has a plan to burrow her way into his heart. She'll leave him a Dadaist message that explains why he's the one and only human for her. Guiding her in her quest for a human are Laszlo, the logical pigeon, and a couple of cockroaches that reminded me of the mice in Babe.

The art accompanying Mimi's story provides an amazing visual backdrop to her Dadaist dreams. Jackson shows what Dadaist art is, isn't, and can be while making the form completely accessible to readers like me who can barely remember the difference between Manet and Monet. Young readers also get encouragement to create their own Dadaist art in the form of "Incredibly Great Poems" and galleries of found objects. The pictures often have a scattered look to them, which I think adds to the idea of Dada art coming from seemingly random things.

Mimi has starred reviews in Booklist and Kirkus. Not that she'd expect any less.

review from the Sacramento Book Review ||

1 comment:

Leigh Anne Vrabel said...


Whoops - wrong artistic movement. Still, whee! Thanks for keeping me in good books. I read way too much dour grownuppy stuff. :)