Second-grader Mandy (her mother thinks it’s “Amanda”) has strong opinions about everything, including her name.
Whether it’s her love of the color periwinkle or her disdain for the color pink, Mandy holds firm to her opinions. She tries to love her baby twins, Samantha and Cody, but they are always “damp,” and she barely tolerates her little brother Timmy. As the oldest child, she feels she can be the boss of the family. She loves Rainbow Sparkle, a cartoon cat with a TV show of her own, and she wants to be George Washington in her class’s Presidential Pageant. She really does not like her new nickname, “Polka Dot,” which is what her classmate Dennis calls her after her polka-dot underwear showed through the awful white pants her mother forced her to wear. Eventually, and a little too neatly, all is resolved: Mandy finally appreciates her roles in the class pageant, with her former nemesis, Natalie, and in her very own family. Readers of the Clementine series will find similarities, especially the first-person narration that gives readers a front-row seat into Mandy’s brain. However, it’s hard to find much to like in this whiny 8-year-old until the very end.
A less-strident Mandy would be welcome if she makes any further appearances. (Fiction. 6-9)