A young boy who’s always late for school learns to be on time and finds a friend along the way.
Never Late Kate is the kind of monitor kids like Marty despise. Just when Marty thinks he might manage to sneak into school undetected (or unrecognized in a cool disguise), there’s Kate handing him a tardy slip. But being on time has its own consequences: Marty would have to curb his imagination and quit wondering at all the amazing things in the world—a turtle, the giant-squid attack from his full laundry basket, a line of ants. Or can he do both? It sure seems that way when Kate comes to Marty’s rescue and gets a tardy slip of her own—a bird’s song, cloud shapes, and comic books are just too tempting. Can they work together to keep their names off new monitor Never Late Nate’s tardy slips? Perl’s tale nicely shows the vulnerable side of someone seen as perfect, but the story’s resolution—African-American Kate pulls Caucasian Marty in a wagon while he continues to explore, invent, and imagine—is highly problematic. Furthermore, Krosoczka’s Kate is a bit too smug about her monitoring duties to make her conversion to friend truly believable, and Marty’s distractibility is uncomplicatedly portrayed as adorable. A final page gives the pair’s list of ways to be on time.
This one can be permanently late. (Picture book. 4-7)