From School Library Journal
Gr 2-4–Third-grader Kelsey Green reads constantly–even during math class. When the principal calls for a reading contest, Kelsey's obsession with books increases and her competitive spirit kicks in–but not in positive ways. First, she becomes suspicious that another student is lying about how many books he's read because she can't bear to think about coming in second. Next, she takes on tutoring a student struggling with his reading skills. Her motivation is to push him to read in order to further their class goal: to read the most books and be the winners of the pizza party. After some missteps and struggles, however, Kelsey comes to realize that she loves reading for reading's sake–not just to win a contest. She further realizes that if she can help someone improve his skills, that is reward enough. This is the first of a promising series. As she did in Fractions = Trouble! (2011), 7 x 9 = Trouble (2002, both Farrar), and other titles, Mills incorporates realistic school situations with everyday challenges with which kids can identify. Kelsey's reading list makes a great bibliography and a way to engage readers. Occasional full-page drawings enhance the story. Sure to be enjoyed by fans of Clementine, Ivy and Bean, and Judy Moody.–Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, ILα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kelsey, an avid reader, is the focus of this Franklin School Friends series opener. When her principal announces a contest that rewards the best-read class as well as the top reader in each classroom, she vows to win one of the honors. What makes her endearing is not only her drive but how it pushes her to reach out to one of her class’s most indifferent readers. Even her rivalry with Simon, another bookworm, has a warm resolution when they bond over their admiration for The Secret Garden. Along the way, readers will meet a bevy of secondary characters they’ll learn more about in future volumes, including math-whiz Annika and athletic Izzy. Their adventures are believable (they spy rather inexpertly on Simon and are caught by a neighbor), and they are presided over by relatable grown-ups, like Principal Boone, who promises to shave off his beloved beard if the school reaches its goal. Shepperson’s thoughtful, well-drafted drawings help delineate each character through facial expressions and gestures while also building a recognizable school environment. Lovely. Grades 2-4. --Karen Cruze
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