In this prequel to The Winnie Years series, fans meet their heroine as she celebrates her 10th birthday, secure in her family’s love and her identity.
Winnie writes in a note to herself: “Being weird is much more fun than not being weird… I can handle anything, and the reason why is because I am me and I am ten and I am awesome.” Winnie must remind herself of this when she encounters the changing emotional terrain of fifth grade. Myracle keeps Winnie refreshingly honest and perky as she faces down self-doubts, whether by announcing that she is not in that stage yet when the other girls in class decide they must all have crushes on boys or standing up to the bully Mindy. In this nuanced portrayal, Winnie also develops her EQ (emotional-intelligence quotient): she learns to listen to her friend Amanda, concede a point rather than be right, even feel empathy for Mindy. Winnie is not challenged with big questions the way Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice is, nor does she have the complicated depth and eccentricity of Susan Patron's Lucky. She is simply the quintessential girl-next-door to whom young readers can comfortably relate.
A solid addition to a winning series, this provides the foundation for the characters and action in Eleven (2004). (Fiction. 8-12)