The Amazing Crafty Cat

illus. by Charise Mericle Harper. 128p. First Second. Apr. 2017. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781626724860. POP.
Gr 1–4—How does one navigate the terrain of school, with its tricky fraction worksheets and class bullies? For Birdie, the answer is through crafts. With the help of her imaginary alter ego, the Amazing Crafty Cat, Birdie is able to prepare for the perfect birthday. She has made enough panda cupcakes for everyone in class (even Anya, the class bully), she has a beautiful dress, and the weather is lovely. Everything is perfect—until disaster strikes. On the walk to school, Birdie trips and all the cupcakes fall to the ground, and after she calls home for help, her grandfather shows up with olives and cottage cheese instead of dessert. Luckily, Birdie "transforms" (no one else is aware of her pretend metamorphosis) into an anthropomorphic feline to save the day using crafts. Harper effectively captures the highs and lows of grade school. Reminiscent of a child's doodles, the digitally rendered illustrations are artful while engagingly playful; they move the narrative forward and add some visual humor to the already funny text. The book also includes six easy DIY projects that will appeal to would-be Crafty Cats.
VERDICT A charming addition to early reader graphic novel collections and a solid option for young crafters and fans of the author.

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