The Amazing Crafty Cat by Charise Mericle Harper (review)
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Reviewed by
Harper, Charise Mericle The Amazing Crafty Cat; written and illus. by Charise Mericle Harper.
First Second, 2017128p
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-62672-486-0 $13.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-250-16236-6 $9.44R Gr. 3–5

It’s Birdie’s birthday, and nothing is going quite right in this graphic novel, the first in a new series. She trips and falls on her way to school, ruining her perfect panda cupcakes and gets frosting all over her dress. Nothing can keep Birdie down, though: when things go wrong, she transforms into the Amazing Crafty Cat, who can craft her way out of anything. She smears the frosting around on her dress to make a map of North America, leads her delighted class in a panda-themed craft activity, and shares the one surviving cupcake with her best friend during lunch. Birdie/Crafty Cat immediately invites readers to inhabit her world, rendered in simple line drawings accented with soft brown and teal tones. The clear, simple layouts make this an accessible choice for the graphic-novel newbies, and plenty of clever details and playful visuals will appeal equally to more experienced readers. Birdie’s excitement when she fantasizes about her classmates fawning over her as she carries her box of cupcakes to school is easily relatable, as is her horror at their inevitable disappointment when she has nothing to share. Craftily inclined and cat-loving readers will find Birdie’s joyful energy infectious and be inspired to come up with their own crafty solutions to their problems. End matter includes templates and instructions for all of Birdie’s crafts. [End Page 453]

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