Written by Tricia Springtubb
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Loveable characters and a relatable plot make this, the second Cody book, a lot of fun to read. Add to that beautifully understated illustrations and you have a winner.
Cody is trying to get a handle on the ways of the world, and that includes learning patience and acceptance. Her best summer friend, Spencer, is moving in permanently with his grandmother, GG. Cody finds that Spencer doesn’t always agree with her nor does he want to spend all his time with her. He spends a good deal of time with a third friend, Pearl, who has agreed to accompany his violin with her piano. Even when they’re together, Cody and Spencer must deal with the evil Meen neighbors, who seem very angry about something. Then there’s the Spindle, or Mrs. Spindle, Spencer’s new teacher who Cody dislikes and Spencer adores.
A good feature of this story is that it’s subtly diverse in a variety of ways, but the characters mesh well. Spencer is black, loves classical music, and plays a violin. Cody is white, relates to pop music, and has a truck driver father. Pearl does origami. The neighbors love tattoos and spiked hair.
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- Title: Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe
- Author: Tricia Springtubb
- Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler
- Published: Candlewick Press, 2016
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 144 pages
- Grade Level: 2 to 5
- Genre: Chapter book, Friendship, Family
- ISBN: 978-0-7636-5858-8
Written by Uma Krishnaswami
Illustrated by Abigail Halpin
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Dini, our young main character, is finally home from India and looking forward to spending time with her best friend Maddie. The book about her time there was called, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. Now, in the sequel, she is back in America but still a huge fan of Dolly Singh, the big star of Bollywood in India. So she goes completely wild about helping arrange a trip and tour for Dolly in America. Who could imagine all the problems involved with a lost passport? An escaped elephant? Finding a good rose petal milk shake in an American hotel?
Dini is confused by all the changes that happened while she is away. Like her best friend, getting another best friend. How is that supposed to work? She is also confused by jet lag.
This is a fun story about girlfriends trying their best to get along and make a parade, a milk shake and a cake for their favorite movie star. They also work out a dance routine for her grand opening that uses flowing ribbons and swaying dance steps. It illustrates their background as East Asian Americans and the beautiful blend of cultures that they experience.
It would make a great book club or read aloud for third graders. The literacy skills strengthened include: humor, cause and effect, dialogue and the differences between things that are real and those that are fiction. As Dini finds out, life is not always like the movies.
- Title: The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic
- Author: Uma Krishnaswami
- Illustrator: Abigail Halpin
- Publisher: Atheneum, 2013
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Harcover, 274 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-4424-2328-2
- Genre: Realistic Fiction
- Grade Level 3