Books by Ellen Thompson

VIRTUAL CODY by Betsy Duffey
Released: June 1, 1997

Cody Michaels, hero of Hey, New Kid! (1996), is keeping a computer journal in his third-grade class, where Ms. Harvey has announced that each child will give an oral report on his or her name. Cody and his nemesis, P.J., are certain their names are the coolest in the class until they find out their real origins—he's named after his mother's beloved dog, and P.J. is named for an aunt who invented the musical potty chair. Meanwhile, everyone is working on naming the class rabbit. These labors are amusing, though P.J.'s hostility becomes tiresome. The most interesting and entertaining parts of the book are the emoticons Cody includes at the end of his journal entries, clever little faces and creatures he has invented; unfortunately, the wit he demonstrates in his journal does not show up anywhere else in his life or in the novel. That omission turns the computer journal into an enjoyable gimmick almost wholly unrelated to the rest of the book. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >
HEY, NEW KID by Betsy Duffey
Released: April 1, 1996

Cody has just moved, and he's not taking it very well. After all his pleas to stay home from the first day in his new third grade fail, he reinvents himself as Super Cody, child genius and expert on everything. When this, predictably, backfires, he must learn to adjust to his new school without all the heroics. Duffey (Utterly Yours, Booker Jones, 1995, etc.) has created parents- -especially the father—who are ciphers and a boy who comes across as so self-pitying that it will be hard for readers to imagine what his old friends saw in him. It strains credulity that, at an age when a great deal of energy is spent on avoiding humiliation, a third grader would stupidly set himself up; it's even less believable that his classmates would be so uniformly kind, understanding, and sympathetic about it. Abrupt and didactic. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >