Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kid Konnection: Kate the Great Except When She's Not

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a fun graphic novel that's perfect for middle grade readers.

Summary: Fans of Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries will love this illustrated series by the New York Times bestselling author of All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat. Meet Kate Geller, a sassy flute-playing artist, who comes up with an original way to redefine friendship.

Kate’s older sister is way too perfect. Her younger sister is way too cute. And her mom wants her to be pals with her frenemy, Nora. Her art teacher, Mrs. Petty, is way too uncreative, and how can Kate pay attention at Junior Guides when her pod leader has a sweat stain the size of the town beach? Now she has to get through her Christopher Columbus role during Discovery Day and her “Colonial Buddies” report, but little does she know how much “help” she’ll be getting from Eleanor Roosevelt and Albert Einstein.

This humorous debut novel features more than 350 illustrations. -- Crown Books for Young Readers

KATE THE GREAT EXCEPT WHEN SHE'S NOT by Suzy Becker is another book that's sure to be a hit with middle grade readers... even reluctant ones. KATE THE GREAT is the first book in a new series that features a likable character writing her thoughts in a diary format. She also is a fantastic doodler so the book includes more than 450 illustrations!

KATE THE GREAT EXCEPT WHEN SHE'S NOT features Kate Geller, a fifth grader who plays the flute and loves to draw. She also experiences the frustrations of being a middle child and she has problems with friends (and even girls who aren't technically her friends.) When her mom asks her to be nice to Nora, the girl who runs in the same circles as Kate but isn't very nice to her, Kate discovers some valuable lessons about herself and what it means to be a friend.

I thought KATE THE GREAT was a very cute book. Fans of the Wimpy Kid series will be drawn to this adorable book that has a similar format. Personally, I love graphic novels like this one because they are both fun to read and have cute pictures to look at. Maybe I'm not so far removed from a middle grade reader after all!

Probably the best part of KATE THE GREAT was Kate herself. She is one terrific character and she's also a hoot! Many young girls will relate to her day-to-day activities like playing in the band, riding the bus, going to school, and attending Junior Guides (kind of like Girl Scouts.) However, I think almost every middle grade reader will feel an affinity with Kate for the dilemmas she faces with her family and friends (and "not" friends.)

As a mom, I appreciated many of the lessons in this story. Because the focus of this novel was on Kate and her and her friendship with Nora, naturally Kate learned some valuable lessons about what it means to be a friend. She also demonstrated some important insight into creativity and seeing things differently. Finally, I really liked that there were a few references to Eleanor Roosevelt and her wisdom. I hope this book might introduce Ms. Roosevelt and some of her famous quotations to a new audience.

KATE THE GREAT EXCEPT WHEN SHE'S NOT is a fun book. Recommended for fans of middle grade graphic novels and books about young girls and friendship. To learn more about the series, make sure you check out

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

I know I'm way past the suggested age range for books like that but I love them. This one sounds terrific!

Kate Hannigan said...

This sounds so cute. I will definitely look for it for my fourth-grader. Love the Columbus storyline – sounds like it could be hilarious. Thanks for posting.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I like the sound of this one, it makes me think of Judy Blume when I was growing up!