Saturday, July 23, 2022

Home for Meow

I love books that come in at about 125 pages, have some illustrations, and are quick reads. This is the sort of thing I absolutely gobbled up when I was in third grade; that was the first year I really got into reading more than one chapter book a day (I blame Mrs. Johnson at the Stadium Drive elementary school for introducing me to The Childhood of Famous Americans book!). A lot of sixth graders seem to think they need to read 300 page plus books, when they've never really mastered shorter books. They are often so relieved when I give them something like Mill's Izzy Barr, Running Star, English's Carver Chronicles, or Jenny Meyerhoff's The Friendship Garden series. When reading seems like less of a chore, they do more reading, and when they do more reading, they get better at it. This is a super cute series that I would definitely snag for my favorite beginning reader at a book fair!

Eschman, Reese. The Purrfect Show (Home for Meow #1)
July 19th 2022 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Kira's family has a cat cafe called The Purrfect Cup, where they serve baked goods and beverages, and have cats from a local shelter roaming about, available for adoption. They live in an apartment above the store, and have a cat of their own, Pepper. Kira's younger brother, Ryan, prefers dogs, and her friend Alex Patel can't have a cat because her mother is allergic. When Kira finds out that there is a King County Dog Show being held, she decides that the best way to bring customers to the cafe and increase adoptions is to have her cats enter the dog show. She manages to get permission, and with the help of her friends trains some cats. Is this really a good idea?
Strengths: Kira is really exuberant, and not always misguided, although not all of her ideas work out. I like that she doesn't fight too much with Ryan, despite their differences, and she even gives Ryan credit for an idea other are attributing to her. It's great to see involved, alive parents, and the idea of a cat cafe is really appealing. 
Weaknesses: I would love to see a similar WISH novel that's a little longer and deals with slightly older children and their concerns. 
What I Really Think: I really enjoyed this, but I need to assess what books of this length I have to determine if I really need to buy it. It only takes a couple of months of reading these shorter books before readers are usually able to move on to standard middle grade fare. 

Eschman, Reese. Show and Tell (Home for Meow #2)
July 19th 2022 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Bubbles is about to burst! One of the cats that The Purrfect Cup is fostering is heavily pregnant, and Kira can't wait to see the kittens! She's so distracted when Bubbles seems to be in labor on the first day of school that she accidentally wears her cat pajamas to school! She meets Sara, a new girl who has just moved to town, and the two become friends. Sara is adopted, but still in contact with her birth mother. This give Kira a great idea when Bubbles has six kittens! She will find six of her classmates who want to adopt a cat. Her brother has another way to deal with the eventual loss of the kittens-- he names them all after his least favorite foods so he won't miss Meatloaf, Brocolli, and Peas all that much. 
Strengths: It was good to see the interplay between school and home life. So many books concentrate on one rather than the other. Ideally, we would all live in communities where people could live above their stores and classmates would drop in with parents for a cookie. I really can see Richardson's Twig and Turtle living in their tiny home just down the street. Kira is very kind hearted and concerned about the kittens. It's good to see children with interests that extend beyond themselves and their cell phones. The illustrations are delightful, and how can you go wrong when there are SIX kittens?
Weaknesses: A third grader reading any edition of The Iliad? Doubtful. I understand what this is supposed to say about Sara's character, but even my own children waited until 6th grade! I'm also thinking that very few schools let students bring pets for show and tell!
What I Really Think: Another fun book with an engaging main character, I do sort of wish that there had been a very brief, age appropriate message on why it is important to make sure that animals are neutered so they don't have litters that end up in shelters. There are a lot more books about children and dogs, so it's good to see a series aimed at fans of felines!

No comments:

Post a Comment