Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fashion Kitty's got a lot (more) to say

Harper, Charise Mericle. 2011. Fashion Kitty and the B.O.Y.S. (Ball of Yellow String). New York: Disney Hyperion.

Fashion Kitty and the B.O.Y.S. (Ball of Yellow String) marks a change in the successful Fashion Kitty series. Still aimed squarely at the reluctant reader, with simple vocabulary and a fast-moving story, the newest book is a foray into the illustrated chapter book format.

Fashion Kitty's latest adventure unfolds in twenty-six short (2 -3 page) chapters, with abundant illustrations and panel cartoons in several colors.  Now firmly entrenched in her role as a masked superhero, Kiki Kittie is learning a few of the unpleasantries that come with being a superhero. Hardest of all is keeping her identity secret, and mean Leon Lambaster III is about to start trouble in Chapter 6 with

The Six Words That Started it All
"I am gonna catch Fashion Kitty."
Throw in some marshmallows, some t-shirts, a secret club (Catch Fashion Kitty Club, or CFKC), and a slippery invention called "evaporating knot string," and you've got everything you need for a fashion-based superhero adventure!

The book's small size matches the earlier GN editions, however, with text and panels competing for the same space, both suffer in the size department. Harper's humorous illustrations deserve a larger venue, and a larger font size might be easier on the struggling reader.

If Fashion Kitty and the B.O.Y.S. signals the end of Fashion Kitty in graphic novel format, it could be a zero sum game - readers eager for more Fashion Kitty may be pleased with the new illustrated novel format, but fans of the graphic novel series may be disappointed. If this is indeed the future for Fashion Kitty, all readers may benefit from a larger size.

Glossy pages with Creative Ideas for Crafty Kitties (including marshmallow sculpture building) follow the story.

Look for Fashion Kitty's little sister, Lana Kitty, starring in her own picture book, The Best Birthday Ever.

Check out Charise Mericle Harper's website.  There's a Fashion Kitty page.

For the record, I received this free review copy of Fashion Kitty along with a valuable and enticing gift - one that I could smell even before I opened the package - a bag of marshmallows and a box of stick pretzels (for building my own marshmallow statue, I presume)!  A very clever promotion that would double as a fun book discussion activity!

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