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

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THE MORE THE MERRIER

From the Cinderella Smith series , Vol. 2

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. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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Readers will enjoy this sequel from a plot perspective and will learn how to play-act a trial, though they may not engage...

THE LEMONADE CRIME

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 2

This sequel to The Lemonade War (2007), picking up just a few days later, focuses on how the fourth graders take justice into their own hands after learning that the main suspect in the case of the missing lemonade-stand money now owns the latest in game-box technology.

Siblings Evan and Jessie (who skipped third grade because of her precocity) are sure Scott Spencer stole the $208 from Evan’s shorts and want revenge, especially as Scott’s new toy makes him the most popular kid in class, despite his personal shortcomings. Jessie’s solution is to orchestrate a full-blown trial by jury after school, while Evan prefers to challenge Scott in basketball. Neither channel proves satisfactory for the two protagonists (whose rational and emotional reactions are followed throughout the third-person narrative), though, ultimately, the matter is resolved. Set during the week of Yom Kippur, the story raises beginning questions of fairness, integrity, sin and atonement. Like John Grisham's Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer (2010), much of the book is taken up with introducing courtroom proceedings for a fourth-grade level of understanding. Chapter headings provide definitions  (“due diligence,” “circumstantial evidence,” etc.) and explanation cards/documents drawn by Jessie are interspersed.

Readers will enjoy this sequel from a plot perspective and will learn how to play-act a trial, though they may not engage with the characters enough to care about how the justice actually pans out. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-27967-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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A bit disjointed and episodic, but Tristan is a likable companion.

THE DOUGHNUT FIX

From the Doughnut Fix series , Vol. 1

Tristan’s family has always loved living in New York City, but all that is about to change.

Dad announces that they are moving to a dilapidated, purple house on a hill on the outskirts of the very small town of Petersville in upstate New York. Baby sister Zoe is frightened and confused. Jeanine, two years younger than Tristan and a math genius in gifted and talented classes, is appalled and worried about her educational prospects. Tristan is devastated, for he is a city kid through and through. Because they won’t be starting school for several months, their parents tell Jeanine and Tristan they must complete a project. Jeanine selects a complicated scientific and mathematical study that allows her to remain uninvolved with people. Tristan, who loves to cook, like his chef mom, decides to start a business making and selling the supposedly mind-blowing chocolate-cream doughnuts once famous in Petersville but now no longer made. His business plan leads to adventures, new friends, and a sense of acceptance. Tristan is a charmer; he’s earnest, loving, wistful, and practical, and he narrates his own tale without guile. But he is the only character so well defined—next to him, the supporting cast feels flat. The family is described as Jewish early on, but their Judaism is kept well to the background; the people of Petersville are white by default.

A bit disjointed and episodic, but Tristan is a likable companion. (recipes, business plan, acknowledgements) (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5541-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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