Like Scotch & Toilet Water? and Tequila Mockingbird before it, Cockatiels for Two: A Book of Cat Cartoons is simply another outstanding Abrams collection of Cullum cleverness and absurdity.
Focusing on feline foibles this time, Cullum’s wit sparkles with captions including a young cat at the breakfast table whose human parents admit “If you must know, Jimmy, you came from a box in front of the market. It said, ‘free kittens.’”
Or how about the feline businessman remarking to a mouse co-worker “I take no pleasure in it, Kaplowe, but I have to kill you and devour you. It’s company policy.”
But perhaps my favorite is one that I think can be truly classified as a cartoonist’s cartoon. An awkwardly rendered cat to nearby canine “You’re lucky. Dogs are easy to draw.”
I think what impresses me most about Cullum is that he almost never goes for the easy joke. While there is a handful of less than surprising captions, for the most part he eschews the norm and shows us jokes that seem obvious only once illuminated. One finds himself thinking “why didn’t I think of that?!” while wondering if indeed you could have.
All in all, Cockatiels for Two makes you glad that cats had Cullum’s tongue.