From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—Just Grace starts with a list of missed opportunities and finishes with the rich possibility of a new friend. In between, third-grader Grace Stewart sends postcards to her next-door neighbor (purporting to be from Crinkles, the neighbor's own cat), draws comics of Not-So-Super ("but still good") superheroes, plays detective with her best friend when Crinkles goes missing, tries to avoid the odious Sammy Stringer, and establishes herself as a true original in a class with not one, but four, Graces. The narrative voice is strong throughout and the story reads like one-part diary, one-part testimonial. The text is interspersed with the child's illustrations and postcards, which nicely divide the story into episodes, as opposed to chapters. A strong cast of supporting characters shares her world. Since Grace claims to have a teeny-tiny superpower ("I can always tell when someone is unhappy, even if that person is pretending to be happy and is a really good actor"), her relationships with these people, and her ability to read them correctly, take on greater significance as the story advances. Grace is a funny, mischievous protagonist who should easily find a place in the pantheon of precocious third graders. Fans of Amber Brown, Clementine, and Judy Moody will love her.—Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA
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*Starred Review* Grace (whose harried teacher nicknames her Just Grace to distinguish her from the three other Graces in class) deals with the usual trials and tribulations of third grade in this hilarious first chapter book. In addition to the usual indignities (being spit on at your birthday party; missing the talent show because of the stomach flu), Grace must deal with feelings about her intimidating next-door neighbor, Mrs. Luther, whose walls are decorated with scary masks and who seems fond of Grace's nemesis, disgusting Sammy Stringer. Grace loves Mrs. Luther's cat, Crinkles, though, and when it goes missing she determines to find it, even if that means temporarily joining forces with Sammy. The kids come alive in the story, and Harper, the author of several previous books, including the graphic novel Fashion Kitty (2005), enhances the comical goings-on with sparkling cartoon sketches. Equally delightful is the wry voice of energetic Just Grace, who never misses an opportunity to point out the injustices life has dealt her. She's a hero through and through. Give this to fans of Ann Nagda's Meow Means Mischief (2003) or anyone looking for a funny book. Kay Weisman
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