Thursday, April 02, 2009

Little Queenie: Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls--Best Friends and Drama Queens, Book 3 by Meg Cabot

Initially Allie Finkle is delighted to learn that her fourth grade is getting a new girl--not only is her name Cheyenne, but she is also from Canada! It will be nice not to be the new girl anymore, Allie thinks, and she hopes she'll be the one appointed by Mrs. Hunter to show Cheyenne around the school. But things take an unexpected turn:

"Allie, I have a favor to ask you," Mrs. Hunter said, getting right down to business.

We're going to be getting a new student today," Mrs. Hunter said. "She's a new girl from Canada. Things are going to feel pretty strange for her here, and I know everyone is going to want to do everything they can to make her feel welcome. Don't you agree?"

"That's why, when I was trying to figure out where we were going to have her sit, it occurred to me that you might not mind giving up you seat next to Erica and moving to the back row with Rosemary and Stuart and Joey and Patrick."

My eyes filled up with tears, but...

"So," I said, giving Mrs. Hunter the bravest smile I could manage, "Sure, no problem."

Allie has just made peace with Rosemary, who shares her love for her new kitten Mewsie, but sitting with those three goofy boys is intimidating, and moving away from the safety of her best friends, Erica, Sophie, and Caroline, is a bit scary.

But Allie soon finds that where she sits is soon to be the least of her problems. Cheyenne turns out to be the female equivalent of the classroom bully, ruling not by physical strength but by social dominance. The new girl turns out to be socially precocious, organizing the girls in the class in chasing the boys down and kissing them during recess. Then she announces she's "going with" Patrick, setting off a cascade of classroom "romances." After all, she points out, "it's just what mature people do."

Although her best friends seem interested in the new developments, Allie hangs back, feeling that she is too young for boy-girl pairing off. Cheyenne, however, declares her and anyone else who objects to be "babies," and soon the Allie finds the "boyfriend game" replacing the imaginary kingdom of the "Queens" that she and her three friends had created in a grove adjoining the playground. Suddenly Allie feels isolated from her classmates and her best friends, but when her mom declares that she's calling the teacher about the situation, Allie instinctively feels that her mother's intervention would be the wrong move.

"Mom, don't call the teacher!" Allie says forcefully. "You have to let me handle it my own way!"

In this sequel to the two earlier Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls, in Best Friends And Drama Queens (Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls), (Scholastic, 2009) best-selling writer Meg Cabot takes on one of the big hurdles for middle elementary girls--the boy-girl thing--and gently has her main character gather the courage to admit that she herself is not yet ready for that stage of her life. Having the courage to take on "the Boss of the Fourth Grade" and admit her real feelings shows that Allie Finkle has begun to learn "what mature people do."

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  • Oh, I've been wondering about the Allie Finkle books--thanks for the review!

    By Blogger KATE COOMBS, at 9:46 PM  

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