With her best friend away on vacation, her motherless, not-so-great friend Claire scheming to have their fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Morgan, marry her widowed father and her own mother putting her singing career above parenting, Katie’s summer is looking to be more bitter than sweet.
Katie’s 5-year-old brother Tyler desperately misses their mother, who’s permanently on tour and “seriously divorced,” and their father, loving as he is, can’t quite fill the void. On top of all her other difficulties, Katie learns that they may have to move before the summer ends. Although perfectionist Claire is entirely deserving of Ms. Morgan as a new mother, Katie is reluctant to promote matchmaking schemes, since she can easily imagine Ms. Morgan as her new mother instead. Third in a series, this effort makes reference to the other works (Tails of Spring Break, 2005, etc.) but nonetheless stands alone well. Katie’s first-person voice feels fresh and authentic. Her yearning—for a real mother and to not move—juxtaposed against Tyler’s poignant pathos, as he only checks out library books about babies and their mothers, builds "MOTHER-mouse caves" for pretend baby mice and confronts his wayward mom while she’s onstage, all add rich emotional depth to this tender, believable middle-grade book.
This satisfying novel is recommended for its realistic situations and nicely drawn, eminently human characters. (Fiction. 7-10)