Cinderella Smith, shoe-losing third-grader, is back, now facing the challenges of a research project.
Third-grade is the year when some kids (the Rosemarys, in this case) appoint themselves too old for childish things, while others (Cinderella and her posse) are still happy to jump and hop and slither when the zoo docent instructs them to. Alas! It’s hard to know what to do if you are Cinderella Smith. When the class is assigned a research project on animals, the children decide they want to shock and amaze their classmates. This turns out to be harder than they thought. Cinderella wants to study ocelots, but the books she needs mysteriously disappear from the library. She and her friends, the self-named Group in Cahoots, come up with a cooperative way to shock and amaze everyone, even the Rosemarys. Fans of this series will appreciate the subtle changes that happen in these sunny stories: The boys and girls are growing up and noticing each other in different ways—they solve problems and forgive each other, even when the Rosemarys conspire to ruin things. Goode’s black-and-white illustrations add humor and emotion to the story and, in the end, even make a lovely visual reference to the real Cinderella story when Charlie puts his basketball shoe on Cinderella’s bare foot.
Charming. (Fiction. 7-10)