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“Maybe the Catfish Club isn’t so different from us after all,” Angel thought. –The Catfish Club
The Catfish Club
by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Coral, Shelly, and Angel love to do everything together. They are excited to be in the same class. When their teacher assigns an art project, the girls know they will be partners. When they go to an art museum, they get in an argument with three other girls—the members of the Catfish Club. Coral, Shelly, and Angel, and the Catfish Club both think they can create a purr-fect project that their teacher will love.
Angel lets anger get the best of her and makes a bet. If the teacher likes her group’s project the best, the Catfish Club has to give her their purple pearl necklaces, and if the teacher likes the Catfish Club’s project best, Angel has to give them her purple pearl earrings. Angel is afraid that she will lose the earrings that were a special present. Will Angel and her friends be able to find a way out of this mess?
The Catfish Club uses a relatable conflict—mean girls and wanting to be first—in a story that will captivate younger readers. Angel, who cares about fashion, also gets angry easily. Angel loves her friends and thinks they are “fin-tastic friends.” However, her group of friends doesn’t get along with the Catfish Club, a group of three friends. At one point, Angel thinks, “I wish I hadn’t lost my temper and made that bet.” As the story progresses, the reader will learn about the importance of working together and the dangers of anger.
Readers will also learn about art. The story teaches that art can be found in unlikely places. The author takes some famous artists and changes their names to fit the purrmaid world. For example, the teacher talks about Pablo Picatso, and Vincent Fang Gogh. The story shows that when it comes to art, it’s important to try new things. Ms. Harbor explains, “The artist didn’t worry about what others told them to do. They didn’t follow the rules. They followed their hearts!”
The Catfish Club uses relatable conflicts to teach about the importance of being kind and working together. The story shows that purrmaids do not have to have the same qualities in order to be friends. Besides the relatable conflicts, younger readers will also enjoy the cat puns and sea similes that are incorporated into the story. For example, purr-ty, cat-tastrophe, and big as a blue whale. The puns are a little bit over the top, and although younger readers may enjoy them, parents might want to avoid reading The Catfish Club aloud.
The Catfish Club is perfect for readers who are able to read chapter books. The story has easy vocabulary, short sentences, and cute black-and-white illustrations approximately every three pages. The Catfish Club is part of a series, but the stories do not need to be read in order even though the story has some of the same characters and a similar conclusion to the previous books. Readers who like the Pet Fairies series will also find the Purrmaid series purr-fect. The Catfish Club uses adorable purrmaids to teach younger readers that, “If we work together, I know we can create a masterpiece.”
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