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The good folks at :01 First Second were kind enough to send me a review copy of The Amazing Crafty Cat, a graphic novel for the younger set featuring (no, not a cat) a girl named Birdie who has a secret alter-ego (Crafty Cat). Birdie seems to me to be in about third grade (personality-wise), but has a locker at school, so I'm not so sure that's what's intended.

Birdie heads to school on her birthday with some pretty swell panda cupcakes, things go amiss, and she is left trying to figure out what to do with black olives and cottage cheese. Fortunately, her crafty alter-ego comes in handy and she teaches everyone a craft.

The graphic novel is set up cleanly so it's easy for younger kids who are not yet fluent in the format to read it and follow along, and is the first in a new series. It uses a simplified palette of black, white, grey, brown, and green. AND it comes with instructions for five different crafty projects at the back, complete with supply lists and diagrams, including four panda crafts (hair clip & necklace, pencil topper, cupcake decorations, and a "panda pal", plus alien &/or bunny puppets).

A great fit for elementary school libraries or classrooms, and for young kids looking for graphic novels but not ready for older content. (I'd put this at the same age range as Baby Mouse, if I had to make a guess.)

You can go to the publisher's website and check out a few of the interior spreads, but here is one that gives you an idea what the interior is like:




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