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Hip Cat: 03/19/10
Jonathan London is best know from his many Froggy books. The book though that caught my eye at the library was Hip Cat published by local publishing house Chronicle Books. I got it at first because of the Matisse style cover and the fact that it had a jazz cat on the cover.
Hip Cat ends up being a cat and dog themed introduction to San Francisco's jazz history just as The Blues of Flats Brown introduces the history of blues and its ties to slavery but told through the point of view of a musical dog.
The title character is a saxophone playing cat who goes to the City to make his fortune playing jazz. Unfortunately it takes a lot to make an impression on a city already filled with talented musicians. Hip Cat has to make ends meet by working at the Doggie Diner which of course, for this book is run by actual dogs bearing a striking resemblance to the iconic old logo.
It helps to know something about San Francisco and jazz before jumping into this book. Without that prior knowledge, the book is still colorful and cute but it lacks the foundation that makes this off the wall book all the more special.
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