Where I got it: Library
Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars (I really love how well this cover fits with the story, and I love the title font)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Page Count: 311 p.
Plain Kate Carver lived with her father
carving all night and all day,
but along came an illness that caused him some stillness until he did pass away.
Now all on her own without any home
Plain Kate must make some dough,
but one day a witch caused a switch
in the townfolk that should know.
She was no charmer only a carver
she could not kill these men,
but no one would hear her except a Roamer
who bid her come with them then.
*This is how Plain Kate's tale begins, loss and loss and more loss. It's a tragic beginning and so no one can blame poor old Plain Kate when she decides to bargain away her shadow for a few staples for her journey. Quite a journey she will have with her cat, tagging along with the Roamers and trying to figure out who is causing this sleeping death, so that she may clear her name.
I loved Plain Kate. Erin Bow created a perfectly delicious world, with some characters that you love and some you can't stand. This novel takes witch accusations, tag-along-cats, magic, ghosts, Gypsies and life and rolls it into one delightful read. I really can't express how much I love this book. The writing was just as whimsical as the tale itself. Plenty of good stuff for every reader. I love the cat Taggle, he's so spunky and loyal and a great companion for Kate to adventure through the country with. I also loved the Roamers (Gypsies) that Kate ends up following to a new town. They had their own customs that Kate had to learn so she didn't make too many missteps and ruin her standing with them. This was a fun, though at times heartbreaking, tale of a girl who needs to find someplace for herself in a world she no longer belongs in. I wish I could have seen some of the carvings that Kate does in the book, they sound absolutely splendid and some, frightening. Plain Kate is an easily lovable character. The witch Linay seems dreadful, but I really enjoyed the story of him. Why he is the way he is and does the things he does. This novel has such a carnival-ride feel to it, jaunty and whimsical all at once. I recommend that everyone read this at least once.
"A long time ago, in a market town by a looping river, there lived an orphan girl called Plain Kate."
"Oh bats, of bats, oh snack with wings--
Come and hear how Taggle sings!
Oh squirm, oh squeak, my wriggly bats--
You'll make a gift for lady cats!"
"When Kate couldn't sleep, she hunched up, shivering as if fevered, and freed Lenore's face from the burl wood."
*this book is not written in verse, I simply felt that this suited the tone of the novel quite well