The third in the Crafty Cat series finds elementary schooler Birdie competing for a choice role in the class play.
When the story begins, readers find Birdie’s alter ego, Crafty Cat, putting the finishing touches on a project: a small model of her human form with butterfly wings. Even after transforming back into Birdie, she’s sure her creativity will convince her teacher she’s right for the highly coveted role of the butterfly in her class play. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy: Class bully Anya has come prepared with store-bought, full-sized wings, as have the majority of their classmates. When their teacher asks the classmates to consider other roles, only Anya and Birdie refuse to budge, forcing their teacher to assign parts: Anya as the butterfly and Birdie as the caterpillar. When Anya has a costume snafu, however, Birdie uses her crafting skills to save the day and learn a lesson: “crafting beats clapping.” Readers new to the series may wonder how Birdie’s secret identity works: Does she actually turn into a cat, or is it just her imagination? Why is her crafting alter ego a cat? The low-stakes, lesson-heavy plot feels more like an episode of a preschool TV show than a typical graphic novel, especially with a narrator (delineated with a text box with a pastel mint background) who directly addresses the protagonist: “What a secret, Crafty Cat. Thank you for sharing. Now it’s time for your transformation.” Characters are all paper-white.
Perhaps best for young crafting enthusiasts searching for a quiet, gentle read—but even they may be underwhelmed. (Graphic fiction. 7-10)