Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable

Read 9/20/21

We’ve been Venable fans in our house since the kids were little and we adored the Guinea P.I. books. I was so excited for her first middle grade graphic novel and this did not disappoint. First of all, there a ton of cats in this story. So many cats! With so many talents! I just thought it was hilarious. And the mystery of who’s the superhero and what’s happening is very enjoyable, too. I eagerly look forward to more. Bonus points for the yearbook style end pages where all the cats are listed with their talents, and they are amazing.

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable, Ellen Crenshaw

From the fantastic author of the terrific children’s series, Guinea P.I., here comes a full length YA graphic novel. Overall, I liked this very much, though I specifically preferred the second half of the book (when I felt like things really got moving, and I loved the ending as well as the author/illustrator interview.) There’s a bit of a family history mystery here that is sad and interesting and solid and informs much of the way her family acts. But then the main part of the story is a bit of self discovery, coming of age, type story. I want to click my “unlikable main character” box over there in my categories because I really, really could not stand Mads’s best friend, Cat. And I got so angry with Mads for not only remaining her friend, but also (to my mind) being inexplicably attracted to her! This was one of those stories where there were a few times I wanted to give the main character a good talking to about the choices she was making.  I always think it’s good when the characters in a story provoke a strong reaction in the reader, so that’s not necessarily a negative.