Monday, July 28, 2014

Kate the Great Is a New Entrant to the Illustrated Novel Category

I had the opportunity to be given an advanced copy of a new illustrated novel coming out next month.  Too often I think publishers target these books towards boys, because they tend to be classified as reluctant readers.  However, I know so many parents who struggle with their daughters, trying to get them reading.

While illustrated/diary type novels are certainly not only for the reluctant reader, they tend to appeal to children who are overwhelmed by more traditional fare.  However, good illustrated novels are engaging for strong readers as well, because they provide another type of reading experience.  Kids need variety in their reading choices if we want them to continue loving books!

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Title:       Kate the Great Except When She’s Not

Author:  Suzy Becker

Target:   Grades 3-5

Series:   Not at this time

What this book is about: 
Kate is in fifth grade and contending with the usual stuff: band, Junior Guides, sleepover parties.  The bulk of the story centers around her friendship with Nora, a shy/loner girl in her class who Kate’s parents have asked her to befriend.  She begins by looking at Nora as the project she has to endure, but as time goes on she is able to crack through the veneer and develop a nice friendship with her, although not without some bumps in the road.

Why I love this book: 
This is a nice entrant for girls in the illustrated novel category.  Too often we think of boys as being the target audience for these type of stories, so it is nice to see Kate join the ranks of the Popularity Papers and Ellie McDoodle.  While this book is not quite as strong as the other two series, there is certainly room for Kate to grow and it offers a nice alternative to girls who have read the others.

I like that Kate is focused on the things fifth grade girls really think about and avoids the trap of being too “insightful.”  This is what will make it work for kids.  I found my second reading of the story much more enjoyable than the first, which also meant that the flow was a little off at times, but again, these are small fixes and I think the foundation of the book is a good one.  I will be interested to see the next book in the series.

The copy I had of this book was an electronic version, so I am unsure of how the graphics will look on a hard copy of the story.  I found myself often having to enlarge the illustrations on my Kindle app, but that may or may not be a problem with the hard copy.

Who this book is for:  
Well I thought it was great for my daughter Kate who is entering 5th grade.  Nice book for more reluctant readers.

Final thoughts: 
Thank you publishers for more diary/illustrated novels that focus on female characters!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Kate the Great, Except When She's Not  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

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