If change must happen, Cody’s good company.

READ REVIEW

CODY AND THE HEART OF A CHAMPION

From the Cody series , Vol. 4

Spring is in the air—a change the energetic bug-fancier Cody’s so, so ready for that other, unheralded changes in her life take her by surprise.

Accepting that she’s outgrown her red spring jacket feels like abandoning a faithful friend. While Cody’s been trying to coax her ant colony into the sunshine, her friend Pearl has had two sleepovers with Madison, who’s persuaded Pearl to sign up for a combined boys-and-girls soccer league. Pearl wants Cody to sign up, too. Though Cody’s cautious friend and neighbor, Spencer, warns her soccer means getting bonked on the head and bossy Madison is not Cody’s favorite person, she signs up. Once coach Yazmin determines she’s left-footed, Cody proves adept at dribbling, unlike Pearl. Still, Madison is the team’s unquestioned star player, and Pearl’s her acolyte. Spencer’s family is changing, too; will there be room in his crowded house for a new baby? Why is he creating a museum under his front porch? Navigating tricky friendship ups and downs is a challenge, but Cody’s older brother, Wyatt, remains her stalwart supporter, and her long-distance-trucker dad offers timely, sage advice. Accepting the inevitable and powering through are the enjoyable lessons tucked into the fourth installment of this sturdy series set among a diverse collection of friends and neighbors. (Cody and Madison appear to be white, while Pearl is Asian, Spencer is black, and the affectionately nicknamed Coach Y! has dark skin.)

If change must happen, Cody’s good company. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7921-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

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. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of...

HONEY

Melody Bishop's peaceful life with her widower father is upset when the annoying 6-year-old next door comes home from the beauty parlor with some gossip.

The 10-year-old has already noticed her father's increased distraction and a new tendency to whistle, so when Teeny Nelson reports that "Henry's been bitten by the love bug," Melody is avid to know more. With her best friend, biracial Nick Woo, at her side, she goes to the Bee Hive beauty salon to investigate. What she discovers there rocks her world not once but twice, as salon owner Bee-Bee has information about Melody's mother, who died in childbirth and about whom her father never speaks. Weeks gets the small moments right: Melody's exasperation with Teeny and the way it turns to sympathy when the little girl's mother threatens a spanking; her affectionate resignation when her grandfather, who has emphysema, sneaks out to the garage for a smoke. And Melody's close relationship with her loving father is sweetly evoked. But other elements fail to cohere. Obvious misdirection leads Melody to a critical misunderstanding that never amounts to more than a plot contrivance, and the mystical visions of Bee-Bee's dog, Mo, who has an unknown connection to Melody, strain credulity.

In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of nail-polish colors is somewhat amusing. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-46557-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more