Catalina Incognito (book 1) by Jennifer Torres, illustrated by Gladys Jose

Published by Aladdin

Summary:  Catalina’s a bit disappointed to receive a sewing kit from her Tía Abuela for her birthday.  Usually Tía, a former telenovela star who is also named Catalina, gives more exciting gifts.  For their first sewing lesson, Tía shows Cat how to fix her torn cat sweatshirt.  Later, Cat realizes the sweatshirt can temporarily transform her into a cat.  It turns out the sewing kit has magic in it that can change ordinary clothing into disguises.  Becoming a cat comes in handy when a ruby goes missing from one of Tía’s most famous gowns on display at the local library.  Cat and her frenemy Pablo combine forces to solve the mystery.  This is the first of a four-part series, simultaneously released with book 2 (there’s a preview at the end of this book).  Books 3 and 4 will be out later this year.  114 pages; grades 1-3. 

Pros:  There’s a lot going on in this early chapter book: magic, a mystery, and a few lessons about perseverance.  The illustrations and larger font make it an appealing choice for younger kids.

Cons:  The mystery didn’t start until about halfway through the book and wrapped up pretty quickly. I hope Pablo gets a bigger role in book 2.

June 23, 2022 at 05:33PM Janet Dawson