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)