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Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo: A Whirlwind Vacation by Nancy Krulik

whirlwindvacationThe Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo series is a great selection for the naturally curious elementary set. Katie is a normal 4th grader in every regard with one exception — the magic wind. This wind is a wild tornado that blows only on Katie and switcheroos her into someone else.

It first happened after a bad day of unfortunate events in the third grade. Katie wished she was anyone but herself. The next day Katie turned into Speedy, the class hamster.

And like any tornado, Katie’s switcheroos usually create trouble and confusion for everyone involved. Katie, however, is a terrific problem-solver with a big heart and always figures out a way to clean up her messes.

With this summer coming to an end and staycations all the rage, my 5-year-old daughter and I decided to take a lovely European vacation with Katie Carew and her family in Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo: A Whirlwind Vacation By Nancy Krulik.

This special issue features more switcheroos than most other books in the series. A switcheroo happens at each vacation destination point. Before the trip is over Katie steps into the shoes of a Buckingham Palace guard in London, England, a sidewalk artist in Paris, France, a flamenco dancer in Madrid, Spain, and an aspiring gondolier in Venice, Italy.

Katie always shows a lot of charm trying to make the best out of each awkward situation. When requested to sing a song during her stint as a gondolier she summons up the only Italian song she knows: “On Top Of Spaghetti.” It is this type of quick thinking that helps Katie to happily resolve each and every predicament she creates during her switcheroos.

This is great read because, in addition to offerings an exciting adventure that kids will really enjoy, it also provides some basics on European geography and culture. And it can serve as a springboard to inspire so many other fun activities and pursuits.

Take a pretend gondola ride. What songs would you sing? Pull out that sketch pad during your next outing. Point out all the shapes and colors you see. Make some homemade castanets and get flamenco dancing. Host a taste the foods of Europe dinner week. Let everyone help with the menu and preparations. And my favorite, play the laughing game. Take turns trying every crazy stunt and silly face imaginable to get a laugh out of the other person.

So get the passports ready. Time to go traveling with Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo: A Whirlwind Vacation.

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