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Kiki: My Stylish Life by Kyla May

Kiki: My Stylish Life

by Kyla May

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This is another in the Branches series (yes, I'm going through the whole stack) and I have to say this is probably the one I like the least. Prepare for totally biased reviewing.

Kiki is at first delighted when a new girl moves in next door, but after they get off on the wrong foot it seems like nothing can go right for her, even with her bffs Coco and Lulu by her side. It takes a little compromise from everyone for the misunderstandings to be cleared up, and there might even be a new member of the Lotus Lane Girls Club in the future.

While there is an obligatory reference to the "mean girl" in school, if you look at the story...Kiki is the mean girl herself. While she does initially apologize to Mika, the new girl, when Mika doesn't immediately fall in with Kiki's clique, Kiki gossips about her, blocks her out of her clique, tries to get her in trouble at school, and generally makes it clear that she feels her position as queen fashion bee is threatened. Even at the end when she makes up with Mika, she doesn't give any indication that she's really thought about her actions and would behave differently in the future. Basically, she's a snotty little brat who doesn't understand any perspective outside of her own. The nods to other cultures appear to just be there as window dressing for the story, much in the manner of different costumes the girls wear. Kiki's vintage fashion doesn't disguise the fact that she and her friends pretty much get whatever they want in the way of consumer goods as well.

Um, no I did not like Kiki. While her behavior is pretty typical for lots of 7-8 year old girls, it's not something I'd feel comfortable recommending. Readers will be too young to really think about the story, and as it's in diary format and all from Kiki's perspective, it doesn't do a good job of making the reader think about Mika's persective, or the other kids in class who are always secondary to Kiki's drama. The book is designed in diary format, like a notebook, with lots of small drawings and illustrations. Kiki is very fond of catch phrases and exclamations, which annoyed me, although some of that is a personal thing. I also have to say that I find the smiley face characters rather creepy.

Verdict: If you have incipient Clique or Gossip Girl readers, they will probably love this series, especially if you live in an area where you have lots of upper middle class mini fashionistas. On the other hand, I can see some parents objecting to this series and it's not unique or interesting enough that I feel it's a necessary addition to the library, so I feel ok in not purchasing it just because I don't like it.

ISBN: 9780545445122; Published May 2013 by Scholastic; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter 2013
  JeanLittleLibrary | Jun 1, 2013 |
Lotus Lane Book 1 - Kiki is about a young girl named Kiki and her BFFL's (BFFL=Best Friends For Life) Coco and Lulu. They all live on Lotus Lane and are members of the LLGC (LLGC=Lotus Lane Girl Club).
In this book we are reading Kiki's diary which is a very cute, sassy diary, full of pretty little pictures and doodles.
The tale is of three best friends, a new girl, a misinterpretation of events and the eventual understanding and friendship that results.
My four year old lost interest somewhere in the middle of the story (14 small chapters), but we did read it in one sitting and she came back to it towards the end. We had fun identifying the days of the week and some of the smaller sight words she knows.
Overall a cute book for kids. Would be better read to your child a few chapters at a time. ( )
  Lisa.Hines | May 17, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545445124, Paperback)

Meet the Lotus Lane Girls!

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Kiki, Coco, and Lulu are the BEST of friends. They even have their very own club! But Mika, the new girl, is shaking things up on Lotus Lane. This first book is written as Kiki's diary--with illustrations and doodles throughout. Kiki LOVES creating cool outfits, hanging out with friends, and collecting fun facts like these:

Fact: I am a member of the Lotus Lane Girls Club.

Fact: I will one day be a VERY famous fashion designer.

Fact: My new neighbor Mika is trouble--triple trouble!

Fact: Even chickens must look their best.

Read Kiki's diary to find out all about life on Lotus Lane!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:18 -0400)

Kiki and her best friends, Coco and Lulu, all live on Lotus Lane, attend Amber Acres Elementary School, and have their own club, so when a when a Japanese girl named Mika moves in next door and also chooses fashion design for her art project, Kiki is seriously annoyed.… (more)

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