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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Katina von Silly was born to be an entertainer. She loves to tell jokes and make people laugh. In fact, her sister likes to call her Egg, because “I. Crack. Her. Up.” Katina has big dreams to become a professional comedian, to stand up on stage and tell jokes to make the whole world laugh. She’s such a happy child and she wants to share her happiness through telling jokes, some she’s made up herself. On the day she learns about the talent show at school, however, Katina starts to have doubts. It’s one thing to stand up in front of her family and make them laugh, but in front of a room full of fellow students, their parents and the teachers? Katina suddenly has serious doubts about her abilities.
Katina Corrao’s picture book, Katina von Silly, is a delight to read. Told in rhyming verse in the first person, this is part memoir and part childhood fun and adventure. With colorful illustrations, the plot develops as Katina von Silly introduces herself and her talents and aspirations. While young readers will laugh at all the protagonist’s silly antics and little jokes, they’ll also appreciate the sense of unease Katina feels when suddenly faced with the opportunity to do what she’d always dreamed of doing: to stand up on a stage and entertain an audience. The power of family support shines through in this story as even Katina’s sister shows encouragement and pride in Katina’s abilities and accomplishments. We all have dreams, but in order for our dreams to come true, we have to work hard (which Katina does) and, most important of all, we have to believe in ourselves. A very poignant story for young readers, focusing on self empowerment. For, as Katina says in her conclusion: “Do you have a dream inside your heart?/ Something different that sets you apart?/ Go after your goals and see them through!/ I’m Katina von Silly, WHO ARE YOU?”