Double Booking: The Tail of the Mummy Cat by Chas! Pangburn, Kim Shearer & Nic Touris

Oh gosh, I hope this is the first in a series, as it was just absolutely delightful!

Siblings Nan and Otto are pulled out of art camp one summer when their travel blogger mom gets a plum, last-minute assignment in Egypt. Fortunately, her employer will pay for her kids to come along with her. Nan, who aspires to follow in her mother’s footsteps, is thoroughly excited by this. Otto, who would much rather be drawing comics in art camp, is far less so.

Despite Otto’s misgivings — and several speed bumps including seasickness while taking a felucca ride — Egypt is pretty amazing. When the kids are allowed to tour a pyramid site, they sneak off to slip inside one of the famed constructions. Nan accidentally loses her bracelet, and as she’s searching for it, Otto makes the acquaintance of the spirits of a mummified pharaoh and his cat, Princess Tiaa. When Tiaa runs away from the pyramid, however, Otto gives chase, setting the siblings on a madcap journey of adventure and discovery. Perhaps more importantly, tho, they learn how to understand each other better, and commit to at least trying to be better siblings to one another.

This delightful graphic novel is actually told in two parts, from the perspective of each of our protagonists, in a very cute flipbook conceit. After reading Otto’s story, readers are meant to flip the book over and read Nan’s side — arguably, you could do it the other way around, too. Chas! Pangburn and Kim Shearer draw from their own experiences as siblings to shape the book’s conflicts and differing perspectives, rendering the entire experience one that feels both lived in as well as familiar to any member of the older sister-younger brother dynamic (like myself!)

Interestingly, my eldest kid read this with me, and we felt bonded in Otto and Nan’s adventurous spirit more than we did as mom and son. Perhaps that is because our relationship tends to be more characterized with playfulness than is usual (we have been locked in a mewing battle for weeks now,) tho perhaps we were merely identifying with the more prominent characters. Jms started reading over my shoulder during Otto’s part but, annoyingly enough, declined to read Nan’s. He did super like what he read of the book, tho I do wish he’d stuck around to get the full story with Nan’s half, too.

I really enjoyed Nic Touris’ artistic choices, as he made both sides of the book visually different but equally arresting. I probably enjoyed the cuter, rounder nature of Otto’s side more than I did the sharper angles of Nan’s, but absolutely love the thought processes that went into both, as well as the brilliant interstitials of both Otto’s comics and Nan’s journals. It’s so rare and honestly so impressive to see so much versatility from one artist in one book, and a kid’s graphic novel at that! I was deeply impressed, both by the art and by the choices of representation throughout. Recommended.

Double Booking: The Tail of the Mummy Cat by Chas! Pangburn, Kim Shearer & Nic Touris was published April 16 2024 by Papercutz and is available from all good booksellers, including

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