THE MORE THE MERRIER

From the Cinderella Smith series , Vol. 2

The invented words, the spelling bee and Cinderella’s voice, which is maturing and becoming more likable, make this a great...

Cinderella Smith knows how to spell and define many words, but sometimes the hardest word to understand is friendship.

Third grade with beloved Mr. Harrison is "vexylent," especially when Cinderella invents new words and her friends begin to adopt them. But, alas, things can be "awshucksible," too. The Rosemarys are in her class and continue to make life difficult. They make fun of her words, visiting aunt, little sister Tess and just about anything else that Cinderella enjoys. When the reward for winning the school spelling bee (getting to choose the theme for a class party) is announced, the gauntlet is thrown. Cinderella and her crew do NOT want to have Rosemary T.’s “I Believe in Unicorns” party. Cinderella and best friend Erin will have to do a lot of studying. In between study sessions, the girls become increasingly irritated by the mean behavior of the Rosemarys and decide to give them the silent treatment, which ends in a very believable confrontation. Goode’s appealing line drawings keep things light and help readers cheer for Cinderella.

The invented words, the spelling bee and Cinderella’s voice, which is maturing and becoming more likable, make this a great offering for youngsters who are figuring out the confusing social terrain of third grade. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-200440-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

Categories:

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 1

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet!

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. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

THE BELL BANDIT

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 3

A fine emotional stretch within reach of the intended audience.

When siblings Jessie and Evan (The Lemonade War, 2007, and The Lemonade Crime, 2011) accompany their mother on the time-honored midwinter holiday visit to their grandmother’s home in the mountains, the changes are alarming.

Fire damage to the house and Grandma’s inability to recognize Evan are as disquieting as the disappearance of the iron bell, hung long ago by their grandmother on Lowell Hill and traditionally rung at the New Year. Davies keeps a tight focus on the children: Points of view switch between Evan, with his empathetic and emotional approach to understanding his world, and Jessie, for whom routine is essential and change a puzzle to be worked out. When Grandma ventures out into the snow just before twilight, it is Evan who realizes the danger and manages to find a way to rescue her. Jessie, determined to solve the mystery of the missing bell, enlists the help of Grandma's young neighbor Maxwell, with his unusual habitual gestures and his surprising ability to solve jigsaw puzzles. She is unprepared, however, for the terror of seeing the neighbor boys preparing a mechanical torture device to tear a live frog to pieces. Each of the siblings brings a personal resilience and heroism to the resolution.

A fine emotional stretch within reach of the intended audience. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-56737-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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