Katie Woo Rules the School, released yesterday from Capstone Young Readers, is refreshing. Maybe it's because I read a lot of YA books, but it was nice to step back into a linear storyline with a handful of characters, headed by the bespectacled first grader Katie Woo. This book is actually a collection of several shorter stories, almost episodes. I like that the stories address minor problems without a lot of fanfare and not to much adult interference. For example, Katie is picked on by the class bully in one of the stories. She handles it in her own way and resolves the problem-- no parent-teacher conference or class assembly on bullying needed. She's empowered, for a first grader.
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammie Lyon, this early chapter book for kindergarteners and up is a nice new entry in this field which has been dominated by another bespectacled girl, Junie B. Jones, for some time now. Simultaneously available is Katie Woo and Friends and twenty-four Katie Woo paperbacks (as opposed to collections like this one). If you've burned through Junie B. but aren't quite ready for Ivy and Bean or (my favorite) Ramona, Katie Woo may be your go-to girl.