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“She didn’t mean to be scared. She just liked doing things the safe way. The safe way never involved sharks or jellyfish or getting grounded,” Coral. –The Scaredy Cat
The Scaredy Cat
by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Coral, Shelly, and Angel are best friends. They are excited about meeting their new teacher on the first day of school. Their teacher asks the kids to bring something special to share with the class. The three friends decide that they need to search Tortoise-shell Reef to find something special enough to share. Coral is anxious about going to the reef because it is on the edge of the cove. However, she agrees to go because it’s important to her friends.
When the purrmaids get to the reef, Coral’s friends discover that she doesn’t know how to complete flips. Angel and Shelly are eager to teach Coral a new skill, but soon they have flipped so many times that they don’t know where they are! Can the three friends find their way home? Can Coral learn to be brave?
The Scaredy Cat mixes kittens and mermaids in a story about friendship that will have younger readers enthralled. The unique idea and the adorably cute black-and-white illustrations will draw readers to the book. The story focuses on the purrmaids’ homework assignment as well as Coral’s cautious attitude. When the group goes to Tortoise-shell Reef, Coral shows bravery several times; each time her friends are in danger, Coral jumps in to protect them. The story highlights the importance of trying new things, but also of being cautious.
As part of the adventure, Coral meets a misunderstood catshark named Chomp. The shark gives the story an added dose of danger. After she gets to know him, she learns that he isn’t dangerous. Chomp complains that “Catsharks always get a bad rap. Everyone in the ocean thinks we’re out to eat them!” Coral is able to learn that it is wrong to judge a shark just because he’s a shark.
The Scaredy Cat 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. Younger readers will enjoy the cat puns that appear often, like “cat-tastrophe,” “paw-sitive,” and “purr-omise.” The puns are a little bit over the top, and although younger readers may enjoy them, parents might want to avoid reading The Scaredy Cat aloud.
Readers who like the Pet Fairies series will also find the Purrmaid series purr-fect. While the Pet Fairies series has a non-scary villain, the Purrmaid series focuses more on friendship and the quest for the perfect item to share with the class. The Scaredy Cat will delight younger readers, who will want to read every book in the series because the stories are so much fun. The satisfying conclusion will have readers squealing in joy as the story shows that friendship is the best gift of all.
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