|Kate Walden directs : Night of the zombie chickens
Author: Mata, Julie
Budding film director Kate Walden navigates middle school girl politics and chores on her mother's chicken farm while trying to become the next Spielberg.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 167830
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 64008
School Library Journal (00/03/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/06/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2014 Gr 4–7—Seventh-grader Kate Walden is pursuing her aspirations of becoming a filmmaker. Things are going mostly well, despite the fact that her mother's prized organic hens are behaving nothing like the zombies she has cast them as in her first feature-length film. Problems arise when her friend Alyssa, who is also the star of her movie, abandons the project as well as the friendship. When Alyssa starts hanging out with the most popular girl in the school, Kate finds herself the butt of class jokes. She feels lonely, isolated, and not the least bit like a movie director. However, she manages to solve both her friendship and movie-making problems by befriending two of her school's outcasts. In the process, she realizes that popularity does not necessarily equal happiness. The tale comes to a climax as Kate devises a plot to exact revenge against her former friend. Readers will be on the edge of their seats as Kate makes the ultimate decision of whether or not to ruin Alyssa's reputation. Zombie Chickens is an original take on friendship between girls and middle-school angst. Fans of Wendy Mass, Sharon Draper, and Rebecca Stead will appreciate this clever and quirky piece of realistic fiction.—Lauren M. Sinacore, George M. Davis Elementary School, New Rochelle , NY - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2014 Kate is making the most of her family’s new home in the country, using her mother’s organically raised chickens as the titular zombies in her first movie while her longtime best friend, Alyssa, screams bloody murder in the starring role. Soon, though, Alyssa and popular girl Lydia bond, and when Alyssa readily joins Lydia in ridiculing Kate, Kate finds herself ostracized by all but the dorkiest kids in her seventh-grade class. Intent on making Alyssa experience the same pain and humiliation she feels, Kate sets out to teach her a lesson, ignoring her own better judgment and the advice of her mother and newfound friends. Mata takes shopworn plot elements-middle-school social politics, tension between tweens and parents-and subtly but powerfully illuminates them with Kate’s movie-making, transforming a potentially minor subplot ultimately into an object lesson in the sustaining and enriching power of personal projects. Readers struggling to maintain their sense of self when faced with the consuming dramas of middle school could benefit from spending time with Kate, who continues work on her film despite the teasing of her classmates and absence of her leading lady, not to mention the self-doubt that often plagues artists. The book also encourages empathy as Kate struggles to better understand those around her, including popular, careless Lydia, who is presented here without caricature. Similarly, Kate’s struggles to support her mother’s organic farming dream mirror many a twelve-year-old girl’s battle to overcome her baser emotions with more magnanimous thinking. Girls struggling to be their best selves will find Kate a relatable, enjoyable, and admirable companion on their journey. AA - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 05/15/2014 Aspiring filmmaker Kate Walden thinks she has a handle on her life’s cast of characters: Devoted Dad; chicken-farming Mom; annoying little brother, Derek; and Alyssa, Kate’s BFF and the star of Kate’s most ambitious movie to date, Night of the Zombie Chickens. She has less of a handle on her relationship with other people in her life, such as social outcasts Margaret and Doris, as well as Lydia, the most popular girl at school. But when Lydia turns her attention to Alyssa, Kate finds herself shunned and picked on, and her plans for her movie are swiftly running off the rails. Amid all the upheaval, the only constant in her life is Derek, who is still annoying. Can she get her life back on track (along with some tidy revenge)? Debut author Mata has an unerring ear for tween dialogue, and she conveys Kate’s hurt and anger with presence and clarity, even—and perhaps especially—when she lashes out irrationally. Despite all the drama, there is humor and a great deal of warmth in this enjoyable read. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.