Grace and Katie
written by Susanne Merritt; illustrated by Liz Anelli
2017 (EK Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Grace sometimes thought Katie's pictures needed to be more organized... and Katie sometimes thought Grace's pictures needed to be more exciting.
Twin sisters Grace and Katie love to draw, but they have different approaches. Grace likes "straight lines, squares, and angles." Katie is more of a "patterns, squiggles, and swirls" artist. When Grace decides to draw a map of their home, Katie offers to help, but her twin sister wants no part of it. So Katie goes on her own to draw a map of the park near their home. Grace's map has a legend and a compass rose. There are straight lines galore and everything is labeled. I love that the author and illustrator chose, in a wonderful two page spread, to show Grace's map as she drew it. It's kid friendly and would be a great mentor text for students studying maps in a geography unit. Even though it's a terrific map, Grace is not quite satisfied. It's like a dish that needs extra seasoning. Katie's map of the park is a glorious collage of shapes and colors. If you wanted to explain mixed media to an elementary audience, I would use Katie's map. Although it's full of color and energy, Katie is not entirely happy with her map either. After examining both maps, the girls decide that they do their best work together.
There are many things to like about this book. The message of working together is always appreciated in an elementary classroom. As a teacher, I see a mini-lesson on comparing and contrasting with Grace and Katie as the featured text. You can pull in graphic organizers as well. As stated above, you can also go cross-curricular with lessons in art and geography. Grace and Katie are a formidable picture book team.