What do marshmallows, yellow string, the Eiffel tower and Super Sticky Spray have in common? Not much really, except that they all have a key role in Fashion Kitty and the B.O.Y.S (Ball of Yellow String) (2011) by Charise Mericle Harper.
Fashion Kitty and the B.O.Y.S. is Fashion Kitty’s fourth adventure, but it is my first experience with the fashion forward cat whose family has two secrets: (1) they have a pet mouse and (2) Kiki Kittie is now a superhero called Fashion Kitty.
Although the content is necessarily different, this book follows the tradition of Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid books (and even Brian Selznick and other books that I’m not as familiar with) in combining a written story with illustrated segments interspersed throughout the text.
The really nice thing about this book, being part of an established series, is that Harper does a good job bringing readers up to speed quickly. It was easy to read this book as a standalone without the earlier installments.
Apparently the earlier books in the series were more traditional graphic novels and some readers miss that format. I can’t comment on that since I haven’t read the other books, but I liked the text/image format. This could also be a good stepping stone to more text-based books for readers who are growing with the series, but it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Harper’s writing is clever with a bit of fairy tale quality–it’s easy to imagine sitting around a story hour being told this story by the author instead of reading it as a book.
I like the emphasis on helping friends here and the illustrations are a lot of fun. Really, the whole premise is fun–a cat who is a superhero and helps cats with fashion emergencies? What’s not to love? I was also happy to see the inclusion of a lot of boy characters instead of keeping the book girly and fashion-centric. Fashion does, obviously, play a role but it’s also just a vehicle to help people out.
T-shirts and marshmallow art play a role in the story and Harper even provides craft ideas at the end of the book making this one the full package. With the humor, short chapters, and illustrations Fashion Kitty and the B.O.Y.S. is a great choice for fans of the series, reluctant readers, and anyone in between.
*A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher/author. (This is totally unrelated to the review and did not impact my opinion of the book, but thanks to Dema Neville for the lovely packaging of the said review copy which included the book as well as some marshmallows and yellow string–which as it turns out tie back to craft ideas at the back of the book.)