In “The Owl and the Puss in Boots,” our hero finds himself thrown out of the local cantina when he is told his milk tab has become too long. No longer welcomed at the watering hole and finding himself out of favor with love interest Dulcinea who quotes to him, “A debt repaid is a friendship remade,” Puss in Boots realizes he has let his friends down. He decides the time is ripe for securing a paying job and an adventure on the high seas.
Cooper's story touches on several concepts – being responsible, why discrimination is wrong, respecting and helping others, and forgiveness – for young readers to mediate, with adult assistance. Although these are serious life lessons, they are handled with quite a bit of humor, especially since Cooper casts the Puss in Boots and the Owl at odds with each other, kind of like Felix and Unger of The Odd Couple. The dynamics between the characters are explored between Puss in Boots and the Owl and the Owl and his wife Gloria. In both sets of circumstances, each character chooses to forgive which leads to a happy ending.
In “Costume Craze,” the town's orphans have selected their costumes; however, when Puss in Boots plans to come in his daily attire, the kids advise him to see the party as an opportunity to try something new and different. Hilarity ensues when he tries on a variety of outfits with pretty disastrous results. In the end, he finds he is most himself when he is Puss in Boots. Davison's story is cute and it encourages the characters to be flexible and try change, but to embrace what makes you comfortable with your own image.
In both stories, Bartolini and Alverez's artistic styles complement each other, leading to a visual consistency between the tales. Bartolini uses subtle colors that blend into each other, while Alverez incorporates more vibrant colors that pop off the page. Barolini's layout takes on the attributes of comic books proper, while Alverez utilizes more white space and uses fewer panels per page that take up more real estate. In Alverez's story, it is aimed at a younger audience than Bartolini's. Campbell rounds out each creative team with his clean and easy-to-read caption boxes, speech balloons, and sound effect words. The text is organized well, so young readers can easily follow the dialogue and narratives.
Puss in Boots is a charming and entertaining character. He's fun and adventurous, and the stories are positive and lighthearted. Young readers who enjoyed the filmic version of Puss in Boots will likely be interested in having this series added to their pull list, as well as probably some cat lovers who enjoy cat-focused comic books.