A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Mentions how various kinds of animals have helped people throughout history. What cats say in a variety of languages such as Arabic, Hindi, German, Korean, and more. How New York City's carriage horses are mistreated.
Sometimes things change, even friendships, and that's OK. Drifting apart from someone you've been friends with for a long time can be a little sad, but it can also bring you chances to explore new things and make new friends. Animals deserve to be treated with kindness. Sometimes it's OK to cause damage or commit a crime if it exposes another crime. Do things because they make you happy, not because they make you money.
Positive Role Models
Katie's a good role model for courage, perseverance, and teamwork. She takes on a superhero identity to rescue a friend and assigns team members tasks according to their strengths. She wants to earn money, so she figures out on her own how to get odd jobs from neighbors and what kind of work she's best at. Katie is White, but all other characters including friends, neighbors, and people in the background, have a diverse range of skin tones and hair and body types. The neighbor Katie catsits for is a positive representation of a superhero Black woman who's smart, tech savvy, and skilled in martial arts. Biographies at the end of the author and illustrator may inspire enthusiasm for animals, female superheroes, and adventure.
Violence & Scariness
The mistreatment of animals is an important theme but abuse is not directly mentioned. Superhero antics expose a criminal who poaches endangered-animals and a dog-fighting ring. Mistreatment of carriage horses in New York City mentions horses kept in small boxes and working in extreme heat until they collapse. Pictures show some slightly scary wax figures of supervillain monsters. A villain gets bonked on the head and loses consciousness. Groups of cats are shown charging toward an attack. In a wax museum, characters joke about being murdered by evil wax monsters.
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Name calling includes "fart breath" and "nerd." Mention and pictures of "parachute underwear."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Katie the Catsitter is a superhero graphic novel set in modern-day New York City. Twelve-year-old Katie wants to earn money so she can go to summer camp, but when she starts catsitting for a neighbor she starts to suspect that the neighbor is much more than meets the eye. Mistreatment of animals is a theme, and crimes uncovered include poaching and a dog-fighting ring. Poor treatment of New York's carriage horses also mentions some details. Crimes committed by a superhero, like causing a factory explosion and theft, are justified since the crimes expose the poacher and the dog-fighting ring. A couple of pages show slightly scary images of supervillain monsters in a wax museum. A villain gets bonked on the head and knocked unconscious. Name calling includes "nerd" and "fartbreath," An illustration shows fantasy cats gambling at cards.
Is It Any Good?
This is a fun, funny, imaginative, and colorful graphic novel that reluctant readers will enjoy. Katie the Catsitter's superheroes and villains who inhabit modern-day New York City 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. To say nothing of the cats! Readers will enjoy their antics and beyond-belief skill sets thanks to the drawings that highlight all the different personalities.
There are a few abrupt transitions that may make readers think they skipped a page and can be a bit confusing. But if you just keep going they clear up fairly quickly. Themes surrounding animal rights and changing friendships are presented without being too heavy handed. The story also starts to feel repetitive toward the middle, but it picks back up again fairly quickly. The ending satisfies while leaving the door open for more adventures, and readers will look forward the planned next installment.
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.