Kids author's toughest critics give rave reviews

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The second annual One Book, Two Book festival of literature-related activities for kids started Jan. 11 and continues today with a new event, “Off the Page: Children’s Favorite Storybook Professions Come to Life” held concurrently at the Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty public libraries from 1 to 3 p.m., Community members and leaders will lead an interactive story time. Children can find out what it’s like to put out fires, fly a plane, race to a crime scene, bake a delicious cake and more.

The festival’s featured guest was Nancy Krulik, author of popular children’s books, like “Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo” and “George Brown, Class Clown.”

Here are a few reviews of Krulik’s books, from what could be her toughest audience — kids.

“George Brown, Class Clown: Attack of the Tighty Whities!”

SUMMARY: “George Brown, Class Clown Attack of the Tighty Whities!” is a book about a boy named George.George won a spelling contest in school because Louie spelled the word ‘crabby’ wrong. George spelled ‘crabby’ right and got to go to a spelling contest. Louie, Mike and Max try to do mean things to George. George does his best not to listen to them.Before the spelling contest, George had a Super Burp. George gets out of control and knocks over everyone’s drinks in the ice cream place. George only told his best friend, Alex, about his Super Burp. Alex tries to help George with the Super Burp by making him ice cream and onions. It tasted gross! At school, George wears his underwear over his pants on backwards day.He sees Louie, Mike and Max.Louie was on roller skate shoes and falls down on his rear because he was skating backwards.At the spelling contest, George had a huge Super Burp and ran outside and danced in the flowers.George does good at the spelling contest and gets second place.Everyone was very proud of George.

REVIEW: Three things I liked about the book is that George does funny things like wearing his underwear over his pants, has a Super Burp and dances in the flowers. The funniest part of the book for me was when Louie skated backwards and fell on his rear. The pictures in the book were also funny! A lesson that I learned from this book was that Louie, Mike and Max should not be bullies and make fun of George. I think boys and girls who are in first, second and third grade would like to read this book.

REVIEWER: Ethan Schamberger, second grade, Prairie Heights Elementary School, Cedar Rapids

 “Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo: Something’s Fishy”

SUMMARY: “Katie Kazoo Switcheroo” by Nancy Krulik is a fiction book series about Katie Kazoo, a red headed fourth grader in Mr. G’s class.Katie has the unusual ability to turn into other living creatures.She had a terrible day at school and was wishing she could be anyone but herself when a shooting star went over her house. This wish gave her the ability to change, but she never knows when or what she’ll change into.

In this Katie Kazoo book, Katie and her class 4A and 4B go to the Cherrydale Aquarium. Kevin, a boy in her class, is trying to feed the fish. Ms. Sweet, class 4B’s teacher, tries to stop him from throwing the food into the big aquarium. When Ms. Sweet leans over the big fish tank to get the bread from Kevin, her engagement ring falls off into the aquarium. Katie Kazoo goes to get a drink of water. She suddenly feels a wind and thinks “weird, there aren’t any open windows or fans blowing.” She realizes that she is turning into something. She can’t move her eyes and suddenly realizes she is the clownfish she saw earlier that day. Katie finds Ms. Sweet’s engagement ring in the big aquarium. She turns back into herself and tells Ms. Sweet where the ring is. Ms. Sweet tells an aquarium diver who gets it back for her. She was really relieved to have it back.

REVIEW: I liked this book. I liked when Katie Kazoo turns into a fish and what she was thinking when she was a fish. Who doesn’t like magic? It was exciting when she had to try to avoid the shark. There were funny parts like when her friends were cracking jokes and when they were playing fish tag, predators vs. prey. She was the only one that wasn’t tagged because she pulled out her fake sea anemone to protect her. I also liked the fun fish facts at the end of the book. I think kids in second, third and fourth grade who like reading about fish, friends or funny happenings would like this book. It gives you good information about fish. It talks a lot about Katie and her friends. Her friends love cracking jokes.I would recommend “Katie Kazoo Switcheroo: Something’s Fishy” by Nancy Krulik. It was a fun book. I think I’ll check out another in the series.

REVIEWER: Molly Dains, fourth grade, Clear Creek Elementary, Oxford

“Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo: Red, White and - Achoo!”

SUMMARY: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be someone other than yourself? Well, a girl named Katie Carew does! That’s what the series, “Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo,” written by Nancy Krulik, is all about! In this book, “Red, White and — Achoo!,” Katie’s fourth grade class is learning about the presidents, because President’s Day is coming up. When Katie misses school because she is sick, she finds herself stuck learning about who she feels is the most boring president ever, Millard Fillmore. She later learns that he is actually a pretty cool president, because he created a foundation to help protect animals from cruelty in Buffalo, New York and she could relate to him more because she likes animals, too. Katie decides not to make her project boring, so she makes her speech into a rap! Later on, after a quick personality “switcheroo” she finds herself needing her rap more than she thought she would. Later, she and her best friend, Suzanne, get on television because Suzanne wanted them to stand behind a news lady, but when Katie hears the woman trashing her performance and even worse, Millard Fillmore himself, Katie decides that she need to say something.

REVIEW: I thought that this book was a great book to read! I distinctly remember reading these when I was younger, so I had high hopes for this book. I think this book would be good for 2nd to 5th grade students, but if you’re older or younger I think you would like it too! My favorite part was whenever Katie’s friend, Suzanne, celebrated a silly holiday, like Umbrella Day, Kite Day or Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk Day, that she saw on her brand new calendar! I liked it because it was very funny waiting for her response to what she was doing and why. Suzanne or Katie would be my favorite character because Katie is creative (as I found out while reading her rap), kind and willing to do whatever she needs to make things right. Suzanne is funny, brave and confident, and I like the fact that she is okay to be herself! This book was also pretty descriptive and I love when a book is descriptive, so I can visualize what is happening in my head. I would recommend this book to kids who like a mostly realistic fiction book, with a slight fantasy twist!

REVIEWER: Lucy Polyak, sixth grade, Wickham Elementary, Coralville 

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