Katie the Catsitter is back in another installment of her eponymous graphic novel series! This time, she’s preparing to officially become the Mousetress’s sidekick but things like friendship, jealousy, and, oh yeah, robots just keep getting in the way. Katie the Catsitter #3: Secrets and Sidekicks, written by Colleen AF Venable and art by Stephanie Yue, is a fast-paced, colorful adventure in Katie’s New York City.
Katie and her best friend Beth are ready to start their sidekick training. They even have the perfect sidekick names picked out: Aluminum Foiled and Cheesy Justice. Madeline, aka the Mousetress, is one of New York City’s top superheroes, even if the media likes to paint her as a supervillian (but Katie and Beth know the truth!). Along with her literal hundreds of extremely intelligent powerful cats, the Mousetress uses brains and technological know-how to protect the citizens of the city. Meanwhile, Katie’s mom is so busy working all hours of the day that she doesn’t even know what her daughter is up to.
Suddenly, a giant yellow robot is stomping its way through the city, about to destroy everything in sight, until it’s hit by a puddle splash. Turns out, this robot isn’t waterproof. Katie knows this robot is from the heinous Buttersoft Bionics but how can she prove it? No one wants to believe her.
On top of everything going in the world of superheroes and supervillains, Katie’s got regular middle school drama. Her skateboarding crew, the Wheel-las, is dealing with too many third and fourth wheels (pun intended). Katie’s friend Jess really feels the brunt of this, on top of Katie’s suspicions about Jess’s boyfriend’s family who owns Buttersoft Bionics, even though Jess swears they aren’t evil people. Plus, the threat of robots is threatening NYC PopCon, where Katie and her friends are cosplaying. With everything going on, can Katie do the right thing, defend her city, and prove who are the real villains after all?
While some readers might find Secrets and Sidekicks easy to dive into, it’s recommended that readers are familiar with the previous two books in the series, as they’ll give them the world building to help understand Katie’s world of superheroes and supercats. The names and skills of the many featured cats are both adorable and hilarious, readers will love meeting them. The book’s back matter includes Yue’s sketches, as well as words from the creators, some facts about them, and a friendship bracelet making guide, appropriate even for an arm with a paw.
There is a lot of action in the book but there are points where it feels more drawn out, making Secrets and Sidekicks appropriate for a more solidly middle grade audience. Katie’s friendship troubles will be relatable to readers her age. The superheroes aspect gives the book more appeal to readers who might not otherwise pick up a book about cats. As previously mentioned, the art is bright and cartoony at times, matching the action and the vibe of the book perfectly.
Katie the Catsitter #3: Secrets and Sidekicks is a charming addition to the series. Any cat loving reader will enjoy this book, as well as readers who enjoy the Paws or Making Friends graphic novel series, both of which have similar elements (cats! magic!) to Venable and Yue’s series.
Katie the Catsitter #3: Secrets and Sidekicks
By Colleen AF Venable
Art by Stephanie Yue
Penguin Random House Graphic, 2023
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)