Following series opener Spirit Week Showdown (2016), the magnificent Mya Tibbs is back, and so is her competitive spirit!
The little black cowgirl’s plans to watch the Annie Oakley marathon with her mother are ruined when her former BFF challenges Mya to enter the Wall of Fame Game. The other fourth-graders have honorable reasons for entering the academic game, but Mya just wants to win the bet. This alone would have been a fine catalyst for a lesson in hard work and determination, but Allen layers on the drama for Mya. Mya’s pride leads her to also compete in the Bluebonnet Chili Cook-Off—and for her expectant mother’s attention. Mya quickly overextends herself and starts using shortcuts to finish faster, with hilarious results. As in the previous book, the author lets Mya and her friends make mistakes and express their feelings in a natural rather than pedantic way. Mya and her brother, Nugget, know their parents love them but still worry they’ll be ignored when the baby is born. Mya knows winning isn’t everything, but it’s still important to her, and she draws on all her creativity and some help from her peers to do her best.
With a charming cast of characters that readers will be eager to follow, this is a welcome addition to what should become a long-running middle-grade series. (Fiction. 8-10)