The amusing sequel to Dougal’s Diary, David Greagg’s When We Were Kittens, was released earlier this year.
It begins when Dougal and Shadow are around two years old and invites us to share another year of their lives.
This was a fun sequal, which my kids once again enjoyed listening to as their bed-time story each night. With a mixture of very short (a few lines) to moderately long (two or three pages) diary-style entries, it was generally easy to read just as much as we had time for. There is rarely much suspense from one entry to the next, although the time when “man” was away for an extended period provided mild ongoing interest.
Sibling rivalry issues are again evident, and Dougal shows some maturity as he navigates the role of big brother, sometimes with the guidance of Belladonna. He realises at one point that Shadow feels she is less loved than he is, no-one’s “special” cat, as Dougal seems to be Man’s and Belladonna Woman’s, and this realisation allows him to deal with some of the issues between himself and his sister with more sensitivity.
Overall, I would rate When We Were Kittens as rather less intriguing than Dougal’s Diary, which had the advantage of not only exploring Dougal’s introduction to the world, but of including real emotional turmoil and suspense in the early period when Dougal had not yet found his permanent home. On the other hand, it is an enjoyable read and allows us to spend more time with our feline friends, and my children were keen to hear a little more each night and enjoyed the ‘interviews’ with the cats, at the end of the book.
You can join Dougal’s fan club and ask him your own questions at his very own website www.dougalsdiary.com.au.