Beatrice Zinker returns.
The second installment of this promising series for newly independent readers doesn’t exactly stand alone. Readers new to the series must sort out the diverse cast of stock characters—quiet and kind Wes, the somewhat bossy Chloe, mysterious new girl Sam Darzi—while Beatrice continues her struggle to find her place in the school hierarchy. Once they do, they’ll find it’s the second week of third grade, and Operation Upside, begun in Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker (2017), is fully underway. But as with all too many endeavors undertaken by Beatrice and her best friend, Eleanor “Lenny” Santos, things are not going according to plan. Staying incognito, much less focused, is not easy for the impetuous and fidgety protagonist. An unexpected disguise for a spy who prefers hiding in trees and hanging upside down—dressing in pink—doesn’t help her escape notice. Mrs. Tamarack (a teacher reminiscent of Viola P. Swamp) strictly enforces a long list of rules and seems to have it in for Beatrice. Predictably, everything turns out fine, and as in the first book, Beatrice adds another friend to her social circle. Twenty-five short chapters and line drawings on almost every spread (depicting Beatrice with pale skin and her classmates as racially diverse) ensure success for readers not yet used to tackling longer texts.
Beatrice Zinker is a positive model for conflict resolution, third-grade style. (Fiction. 7-10)