Beatrice Zinker is a positive model for conflict resolution, third-grade style.

READ REVIEW

INCOGNITO

From the Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker series , Vol. 2

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)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-6739-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Young readers will recognize Suds as one of their own and will gladly follow him to fourth grade. Sweet and funny.

THIRD GRADE ANGELS

Suds Morton is not yet a “Fourth Grade Rat.” In this prequel to Spinelli's 1991 standby, he is a year younger and, according to his school’s traditional chant, he aspires to the sobriquet of “Third Grade Angel.”

When his teacher announces her intention of rewarding angelic behavior with a halo, Suds decides he wants to be the first angel. Between his cool new friend Joey, his wise mom and a little conclusion-jumping, he comes up with a plan. But, of course, his results are just a little off-kilter. Suds, nicknamed for his preference for calming soaks in bubble baths when he gets “chipmunky,” needs all the help he can get to deal with the various disasters and tribulations that threaten to overwhelm him. Along with the angel chase there’s a pesky little sister, a fifth-grade bully and total rejection by the girl he adores. Spinelli doesn’t miss a beat in recreating the characters from the earlier work and never reveals any hint of Suds’ fourth-grade future. He lets readers into Suds’ 8-year-old mind without condescension. His problems and concerns are treated comically but with genuine kindness. Suds is innocent, gullible and trusting; he is also entirely good-hearted.

Young readers will recognize Suds as one of their own and will gladly follow him to fourth grade. Sweet and funny. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-38772-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more