The Amazing Crafty Cat by Charise Mericle Harper, 128 pp, RL 3
Charise Mericle Harper is a kind of triple threat when it comes to kid's books. She clearly remembers what it was like to be a kid; she has a brilliant flair for crafts and incorporates them into her stories flawlessly, and she has a fantastic sense of humor. These three qualities made her Fashion Kitty series a delight to read and now, with her new series, The Amazing Crafty Cat, she is bringing her talents to a younger group, although this series will appeal to readers of all ages. And, as you might expect, Harper includes several pages of back matter with detailed, easy to follow instructions on how to make the crafts seen in the book.
Like Fashion Kitty, Birdie has a secret identity, the Amazing Crafty Cat. When we first see Birdie, she is making panda crafts. Panda hair clips, panda pencil toppers and panda cupcakes that she plans to take to school to celebrate her birthday. Birdie boxes up her cupcakes and heads to school and then disaster strikes. She trips and falls and all but one cupcake is ruined. The Amazing Crafty Cat follows Birdie through her day as she copes with disappointment, mean kids and the strange "treat" that her grandfather brings for birthday break to replace the panda cupcakes.
One of those moments from childhood that Harper tunes into so well comes with Birdie and the cupcake disaster. A Good Samaritan rushes in to help Birdie, helping her up and putting the lid back on the box. Birdie thanks her and then stands there awkwardly for a bit then begins to walk away. Which is what almost any kid who is embarrassed and upset would do. Then the lady takes Birdie to task for littering when she doesn't think to pick up the cupcake mess. I have powerful childhood memories of moments like that - not knowing, not understanding what an adult wanted from me - and feeling bad and confused. I LOVE Harper for showing this moment and for showing a child pulling through a moment like that. Birdie, and her alter ego, Craft Cat, meet the challenges of the day with wonder, joy, creativity and a growth mindset that makes her the PERFECT roll model for young readers. Thank you, Charise Mericle Harper, for another great book I feel very good about putting on the shelves of the library where I work!
Coming AUGUST 2017!
And, don't miss Harper's FANTASTIC doodle book, available now, with superb inspirational words that kids will get.
The Fashion Kitty Quartet
Source: Review Copy