In her latest business venture (creating personalized barrettes), the pint-size entrepreneur harnesses the power of social networking, fifth-grade style.
Cleo’s a one-girl idea factory, but she’s severely challenged in the sustained-attention department. What doesn’t engage her (homework) gets overlooked. It’s up to Caylee, her loyal sidekick and highly organized Latina BFF (a mini Marie Kondo), to oversee production of their Passion ClipsTM (“Tell the World Who You Are!!!”). Her loving adoptive parents keep Cleo on track in a lively household that includes two rambunctious little brothers, the family dog, five mealworms, and a rogue mouse. Cleo’s a huge fan of Fortune A. Davies, an African-American like Cleo, who hosts a daily talk show. Her upbeat message of ethical empowerment resonates with Cleo. When Fortune invites “kidpreneurs” to promote their businesses on TV, Cleo enlists Caylee and satisfied customers to help, leading her to discover the difference between directing and dictating. She’s relinquished the fantasy that Fortune’s her birth mother, but sometimes Cleo imagines having a family that’s exclusively black and not a patchwork quilt of skin colors, and she longs for answers about the stranger who’s her mother. An opportunity to connect with her birth family feels thrilling—scary, too. No worries—courage is Cleo’s strong suit. Frazier sensitively addresses these potential land mines with intelligence and sensitivity.
Cleo’s an engaging, effervescent original whose story unfolds with humor and insight, probing weighty issues with a light touch. (Fiction. 8-12)