My 7 year old adores audio books. She falls asleep to them every night and sometimes does art projects while listening to them. My 10 year old has enjoyed them since she was about the same age, but she only listened to books she had already read whereas my younger child likes to listen first. We have quickly made our way through all 6 Land of Stories books, the Ramona books (Stockard Channing!!!), and quite a few others. But sometimes, finding a series that she likes can be a challenge. Enter Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo.
This series, by Nancy Krulik, was published from 2002-2011, but we have never read it before. It just wasn’t on my older daughter’s radar, for whatever reason. E is adoring the series and I’m rather impressed myself. The concept of the series is that young Katie Carew makes a wish after an exceptionally bad day asking to be anyone but herself. Now when a special wind blows, she becomes someone else, even the class hamster! Within about 70 pages, she manages to learn something about others, or other situations, by walking in someone else’s shoes.
Katie Kazoo offers a great option for those ready to read longer chapter books, but not quite ready for the likes of Harry Potter. There are still illustrations that keep them engaged and while the stories are silly and fun, Katie learns that bad behavior doesn’t work – for example, in book 5 she thinks having no rules would make everything better, but realizes that we need some rules to avoid mass chaos.
A big part of the Katie Kazoo books is character. Since Katie switches from person to person, she learns a lot about why people say and do the things they do. From the very first book, she learns why George bullies other kids and acts the way he does. She also makes mistakes when she is switched because she doesn’t understand all of the consequences to her actions. Once she returns to her own body, she tries to make things better.
Even on the Katie Kazoo website, there is a page dedicated to focusing on character and highlighting certain books for certain issues. This makes them great talking points if utilized in the classroom, but also makes it easier for a parent to know what is going on without having to read every book. Here is a great example:
In No Messin’ with My Lesson (#11), Suzanne advises her classmates to be honest. But, as Katie notices:
“The kids were taking Suzanne’s advice too seriously. Sometimes the truth hurt…There’s a difference between being honest, and being mean.”
—From No Messin’ with My Lesson
What is the difference between being honest and being mean? When is it okay to hold back the truth a little? Does anyone have an example of a time they thought they were being honest but ended up being mean?
I love that E has found a new series that she enjoys. We’ve had great fun listening to many of them via overdrive. Unfortunately, there are no copies of these books in our local libraries, but that just means I have to buy a few for our house! Is there a favorite series in your house? I’m always on the lookout!