Thursday, January 28, 2010

Series review: "Katie Kazoo," by Nancy Krulik

No Bones About It (2004)
Gotcha! Gotcha Back! (2006)
By Nancy Krulik
Grosset & Dunlap / Penguin

A friend has convinced me to try my hand this year at writing children's literature; but I don't actually know anything about children's literature, so am starting the process simply by reading a large selection of titles that have been recommended to me. Nancy Krulik's "Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo" series was one of them, which I was specifically told is a great example of books perfect for third-graders; and indeed, the two books I read (Gotcha! Gotcha Back! and No Bones About It) seemed to feature many of the traits that I was told are important to include in literature for this age group, including a strong sense of humor, a quickly-paced but not too complicated storyline, a concentration on the ways that boys and girls interact at that age, lots of action and mystery, many scenes set in a school environment, and sentences that average around ten words. For parents, also know that Krulik designs each book to center on one or two common moral lessons she details at her website, and that all the titles feature a racially diverse cast of schoolmates and teachers. These are chapter-books with Americanized manga illustrations by professional duo "John & Wendy," each lasting a little under 10,000 words; 32 exist in the series as of January 2010, and a plethora of supplemental information is offered at the website for teachers and parents.

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