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Benjamin Walker
Benjamin Walker

Kitty Jane

Reviewed by: Fashion Kitty Deborah Stevenson Harper, Charise Mericle Fashion Kitty; written and illus. by Charise Mericle HarperHyperion, 200588p Paper ed. ISBN 0-7868-5134-1$8.99 R* Gr. 2-4 This graphic novel describes the genesis of superhero Fashion Kitty, who is born when young Kiki Kittie is felled by a pile of fashion magazines while attempting to blow out the candles on her birthday cake. Once properly outfitted, Fashion Kitty charges off to "fight for free fashion," detecting a signal of distress and flying off to the bedroom of one Mary Jane Tabby: "Have no fear. I'm Fashion Kitty, and I'm here to help you with your fashion faux pas." Mary Jane is about to succumb to a prank by popular Priscilla Persian and turn up at school in a ghastly outfit; Fashion Kitty averts the disaster and coaches Mary Jane on fashion confidence before flying off to give Priscilla a taste of her own medicine. As superheroes go, this is a different breed of cat: fashion freedom may not be the most adult-respected source of empowerment, but it's one that's going to speak to a multitude of young readers, and Harper makes it all the more approachable with her ebullient yet confiding prose touched with homey phraseology and witty details. The comparatively extensive third-person narration floats underneath and within the illustrative panels, but there's plenty of story information in the speech bubbles and the visual narrative. Aside from the full color mix-'n'-match fashion insert, the illustrations rely on tones of magenta, ranging from pale pink to full-on fuchsia, with blacks and grays, a combination that is appropriately chic as well as appealing. Clean, orderly lines gain some edge from spiky fashion accessories and kitty whiskers, resulting in figures that avoid blandness while possessing sufficient simplicity to keep from cluttering up many-paneled pages and humorous detailed diagrams. This will be absolute catnip for reluctant readers, budding fashion queens, or youngsters just looking for a quick, quirky read.

kitty jane





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