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IT ONLY LOOKS EASY by Pamela Curtis Swallow


by Pamela Curtis Swallow

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7613-1790-2
Publisher: Roaring Brook

Nothing could be more crucial than the start of seventh grade thinks Kat, but when Cheddar, the family dog is in a life-threatening accident, Kat goes off the rails. Normally well-behaved and responsible, Kat takes some shortcuts to get to the veterinary clinic that involves borrowing a bike and cutting school. The consequences are not so serious for cutting school, but the bike she borrows is stolen while Kat is getting the update on Cheddar. Kat never hesitates to admit her responsibility and her parents loan her the money until she can earn enough to pay for it herself. Kat’s friends, neighbors, and family are given small roles to play, yet are lively and help to flesh out this somewhat slight story. Once reassured that Cheddar will make it through his injuries, the notoriety of being accused of bike theft becomes the main conflict. A subplot related to the woman whose car hit Cheddar and also suffers from Alzheimer’s provides for some emotional eruptions as well as a few moments of introspection. However, rather than a rich blend of conflicts, the result is one that seems unfocused and scattered. The adults are mostly benevolent and wise; trusted to understand Kat, despite her own failures. An older sister is intriguingly sticky-fingered when it comes to Kat’s stuff, and their sibling exchanges provide the most consistently enjoyable dialogue. For light-hearted readers reluctant to truly examine moral conflicts, and wanting fiction that takes place in a safe world, this does the job. (Fiction. 11-13)