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“We are a team. We work together and help each other,” Miss Nimble. –Cartwheel Katie
by Fran Manushkin
When Katie sees gymnasts on TV, she thinks the girls are so cool! So she jumps at the chance to take a gymnastics class. But it turns out that somersaults and cartwheels aren’t as easy as they look. Will Katie ever learn to land on her feet?
Cartwheel Katie uses Katie Woo’s difficulties with gymnastics to show the importance of perseverance and encouragement. When Katie finds somersaults and cartwheels difficult, both her teacher and other students encourage Katie to keep trying. Everyone’s positive attitude helps Katie practice “again and again.” However, it’s not just the people in Katie’s class who are a positive force in Katie’s life. As Katie watches her mom playing tennis, Katie sees that “sometimes she hit the ball. Sometimes she missed.” Instead of feeling embarrassed by the misses, Katie’s mom focuses on the fact that she keeps “getting better. I am proud of me.”
Independent readers will enjoy the easy-to-understand plot and the bright colorful illustrations that appear on every page. Each page contains four or fewer sentences with simple vocabulary. Although Cartwheel Katie is part of a series with many of the same characters, it does not need to be read in order. At the end of the story, readers will find a glossary, questions, and writing prompts. Younger readers can continue the fun by creating a Be-Your-Best Medal by following the directions at the back of the book.
Katie Woo is a likable character who keeps practicing gymnastics even when she has difficulties. She is surrounded by positive people who encourage her to keep trying. Cartwheel Katie will delight young readers with the cute story and parents will appreciate the positive characters. Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry & Jessica Curry is another motivational book perfect for young readers.
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