Plain Kate

Plain Kate

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Erin Bow

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  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Format: Hardback | 314 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 212mm x 32mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0545166640
  • ISBN 13: 9780545166645
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 200,378

Product description

A debut novel that's as sharp as a knife's point. Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden charms are so fine that some even call her "witch-blade" -- a dangerous nickname in a town where witches are hunted and burned in the square.

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Author information

Erin Bow was born in the Midwest and studied particle physics in college, eventually working at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. She then decided to leave science in order to concentrate on her love of writing. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, with her husband James and their two daughters. Erin Bow can be visited online at

Customer reviews

By Lydia Presley 12 Dec 2010 5

The amount of love for this book in the book blogging community is huge. I keep seeing the name popping up and finally made the decision to cave and put it first and foremost in my pile of books - so I happily skipped off to the library and picked it up.

I shouldn't have waited - seriously, this is a book to own. I cannot wait for my niece to get a bit older because this will be one of those books I'll be anxiously waiting to put into her hand.

Filled with interesting lore, magic and a heroine who proves you don't have to be beautiful or fall in love to be interesting, Plain Kate had me spellbound from the first page. There's villains who still inspire sympathy, there are actions which cause conflicting emotions in the reader, and then there's Kate.

Kate (who insists on being called Plain Kate) is a big of a ragamuffin who is a very talented carver. Little bits of Russian lore are woven into the story and provide the setting and history to make this a book rich with information for the young reader. As I read it, I was reminded a bit of how Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants affected me - it filled me with wonder, made me feel young again and left me with a touch of regret as I closed the book, having finished it.

Plain Kate is a perfect addition to the middle grade world of books and one I'll be recommending left and right.