I Am Maru by mugumogu
Hardcover (96 pages)
Recommended Reading Level: All Ages.
Meet Maru! This round, adorable Scottish Fold cat may be an internet sensation, but he knows how to keep his celebrity status from going to his fluffy head… mostly. Maru and his owner, mugumogu, give readers a peek into the low-key life of the world’s most famous cat. See all his favorite hiding places — trash cans, cupboards, cereal boxes… if it’s cozy, he’s there — meet his treasured toys, and learn what it means to wield just the right amount of cat-titude.
Anyone who spends time online and loves cat memes is doubtless already familiar with Maru, the cat with a passion for boxes of all sizes and shapes, through his popular YouTube Channel. If, however, you somehow have missed Maru’s cardboard escapades, then the trailer for his first book, I Am Maru, gives you an overview of what Maru’s so celebrated for:
I Am Maru was first published in 2009 (as Maru Desu) by Maru’s owner, who remains anonymous behind the username “mugumogu”, in her and Maru’s native Japan. Now English-speaking fans have access to the book in this new, translated version that gives readers the full experience of the original by retaining the Japanese text descriptions beneath the English translations. For those learning the Japanese language, I Am Maru makes a great primer, especially with such a fun topic as motivation!
The dust cover of the book reverses to reveal a glossy, full-colour poster of Maru, featuring one large picture in the center and two smaller images lining the top and bottom. The poster’s long, skinny format is ideal for hanging on the inside of a locker or on the panel of a closet door. Since the dust cover is intended to be removed, the cover of the book itself has been printed with the title and sepia-toned images of Maru so that it will still look attractive when displayed on your bookshelf. Inside the book, mugumogu’s full-colour photographs are printed on thick, semi-gloss white paper, of the kind found in quality art books, with English text printed in black and the Japanese text in a more muted brown ink. The photo reproduction is sharp and clean, without any of the muddy look that often characterizes books that include content from the Internet. A portion of the photos aren’t brand new, having previously been displayed as still images in Maru’s YouTube videos, but that doesn’t detract from enjoyment of the book. Just think of I Am Maru as an offline scrapbook, or family album, with bonus text available only in this format.
I Am Maru is divided up into sections, with photos grouped into categories like “As long as there is a box…” and “Funny face collections”. “Snapshots” offers a peek into Maru’s everyday life — sleeping, lounging, posing, playing, and eating, like any normal cat. Between groups of photos are selected blog entries, mostly written from Maru’s point of view, but augmented by some behind-the-scenes entries penned by mugumogu. The book opens with an in-depth biography of Maru, including a “résumé”, which is written like the character profiles typically found in manga. There’s even a complete floorplan of Maru’s current home, with notes on his favourite spots and where he typically does the things that fill his daily schedule. At the back of the book is an episode guide that highlights Maru’s most popular videos.
Not enough Maru for you in I Am Maru? Then check out mugumogu’s Maru blog (written in Japanese and English), Maru’s posts on Twitter, and, of course, mugumogu’s frequently updated YouTube Channel dedicated to Maru’s entertaining antics.