Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Small Readers: Katie Woo's Neighborhood: Helping Mayor Patty by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Laura Zarrin

If you've ever dealt with city government, of any size, you'll see that this book is not... exactly realistic. However, it's a good thing to aspire to! Maybe I'll send a few copies to some city council members I know...

The story opens with Katie Woo meeting a new neighbor, Haley O'Hara who has five siblings. Katie leaves her old and new friends playing soccer to go with her mom to see her Aunt Patty's first meeting as mayor. Mayor Patty says the meeting is to decide how to spend the tax money. Each neighborhood says what they need. Mr. Mann, in a turban and with a beard, says his growing neighborhood needs a fire station. Ms. Miller, a white woman, says her neighborhood needs better street lights. Mr. Davis, an elderly black man, wants someone to stop the squirrels eating his birdseed. As each person suggests something, Katie and her friends talk quietly about what they think their neighborhood needs. Ice cream? Puppies? JoJo, a black girl, suggests thinking about what they see in their neighborhood and Katie draws a picture to help her think. Now they know what their neighborhood needs - a park! The council and mayor vote to fund all the requests; a new fire station, better lights, garbage cans, and a park.

There is a brief glossary, a section called "Katie's Questions" to go deeper into the story, and a fictional interview with Mayor Patty about her job. This is a more challenging easy reader; it has fairly complex, although limited, text and concepts. It's a 520 lexile, if that's what you use - in my library it would probably have a blue sticker at the highest level for easy readers.

Verdict: A good choice for schools wanting resources on community and civics and for Katie Woo fans.

ISBN: 9781515844570; Published August 2019 by Picture Window Books/Capstone; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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