Homeschooled Heidi Heckelbeck is about to be a brand-new second grader at Brewster Elementary, and she is none too happy about it.
She would much prefer to continue learning at home with her younger brother Henry, where she doesn’t have to worry about whom she will sit next to at lunch or how she will find her way to the bathroom. Once at school, Heidi meets two girls. Lucy has a “warm fuzzy smile” and invites Heidi to play with her at recess, but Melanie says Heidi is smelly and scribbles on her picture during art. Though Burris’ line drawings add a nice layer of whimsy, for most of the book, Heidi seems to be just another ordinary kid dealing with the same humdrum, starting-a-new-school issues as countless other ordinary kids in countless other books. Though there are hints at what Heidi’s “secret” might be—she has her own special book, and instead of wearing “friendly” colors like pink, Heidi opts for outfits that, according to Henry, look like Halloween costumes—they are too subtle and sporadic to convincingly plant the seed that there is more to Heidi than meets the eye, leaving readers to wait for the big reveal at the end and then continue on with the series.
Heidi Heckelbeck may have a secret, but in the end it is too little, too late. (Fiction. 5-7)