A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Superhero graphic novel meant to entertain. A very short guide at the end on how to draw a cat. The author suggests drawing as a natural and helpful way to express feelings.
People change, and kids grow and mature at different rates. But just because your interests change, or your friend is into something you're not, doesn't mean you can't still be friends. Being honest about your feelings, and doing what you enjoy when you're apart from your friend, can make the times you spend together a lot easier. Don't worry about what other people think about you. Sometimes you have to face your fears. In notes at the end, the author provides inspiration to keep working at what you really love to do, and you'll get better. The illustrator says that drawing is for everyone and that you should draw what you like and keep drawing even if it's not very good, because it's a natural and helpful way to express feelings.
Positive Role Models
Katie's a role model for compassion and curiosity. She especially models a good way to respond when a friend opens up about how it's hard for the friend to get over a traumatic experience with support, patience, and understanding. She wants to learn everything she can about being a superhero sidekick. She's also very observant and uses what she notices to solve problems and discover the truth. Katie and her mom have a loving relationship and model good communication. Although she's a superhero, neighbor Madeline doesn't use violence, just wants to help animals and people, and doesn't need fame or praise to feel good about what she does.
Katie and her mom are White, as are a few other characters, but everyone else has a range of skin and hair colors as well as body sizes and types.
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Violence & Scariness
A villain is tied up and gagged. Villains damage property. Superhero action includes kicking a ray gun out of the villain's hand and tripping, without showing actual physical contact. For comedic effect cats wield a variety of weapons but aren't shown using them. A tween mentions that her shoes make her toes bleed and that her boots are full of blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of tween characters have boyfriends, and mild romantic dynamics are shown once or twice. Brief, negative mention of kissing.
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Products & Purchases
Incidental mention of Paypal and Venmo. An imaginary and unappealing flavor of SPAM.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Best Friends for Never continues the story begun in Katie the Catsitter, a graphic novel about a tween who wants to be a superhero sidekick. There's very little violence. Villains damage property and heroes thwart them by kicking a weapon out of their hand, tying them up, and taping over their mouths. Some cartoonish violence played for comedy like cute cats pulling out a variety of weapons to defend their loved ones. There are some mild romantic dynamics, like having a boyfriend. An adult friend of Katie's admits to having trouble getting over the trauma of being in jail. Navigating changing friendships is a strong theme. Brief potty humor includes using "butt" and "poop."
Is It Any Good?
This second in a colorful graphic novel series continues the fun, humor, and warmth established in the first book. Reluctant readers will relate to Katie navigating a changing friendship as well as her eagerness to learn, be, and do more. Superheroes and villains who inhabit Best Friends for Never add a good dose of wit and humor, while the well-developed characters are easy to relate to and very grounded in the here and now. And readers who enjoyed the crime-fighting cat antics and beyond-belief skill sets will be glad to see that they're back and as adorably hilarious as ever.
Heartfelt issues like changing friendships, developing at different rates, and recovery from trauma are handled sensitively, without being heavy handed. The engaging, dynamic artwork and colorful palette help draw the reader into the story. The ending is satisfying, but leaves the door open for further adventures.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.