The producer of The Babysitter's Club series presents a memorably lovable character: Shirley Basini, whose battle with a poor self-image is largely caused by her dyslexia. Fourth-grader Shirley copes with her problem by being the class clown; but the classroom teacher is not impressed: he makes it clear that Shirley must either improve or be held back. Her efforts are deflected when her parents adopt an eight-year-old Vietnamese girl. At first, as Shirley mentors Jackie, she gains confidence that spills over into her schoolwork. But when Jackie turns out to be a fine, devoted reader, Shirley's resentment threatens all her hardwon progress. It takes thoughtful intervention from both her parents and a resource-center teacher to help Shirley put herself back on the right track. Shirley has definite strengths that stand her in good stead despite her reading difficulties; her story is slickly and entertainingly written. One might quibble over the cursory attention given to Jackie's background; but the funny, positive depiction of Shirley's adventures overrides the flaws here.