Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Unexpected: Just Grace and the Double Surprise by Charlise Mericle Harper

I could tell Mimi was dying to get home to see if they were going to go and pick up her new sister.

I had never thought about it before, but what if this was not going to stop? What if even when the new sister got here Mimi was going to be rusjing home every day to see her? What if Mimi was changing forever and not just for a little while like I thought she was! What if everything was going to be different?

Grace's best friend Mimi knows that her family is going to pick up her adopted sister any day now. The surprise will be in how old she is and what her name is. Mimi has decided she wants her sister to be three years old--old enough to walk but small enough to pick up--and she would like her name to be Jasmine. Grace is happy for her best friend until she realizes that Mimi's sister will mean a big change in their friendship. What if Mimi will be too busy to be her best friend anymore?

Grace has her own surprise waiting at home. Dad is taking her on an "errand" and Mom refuses to tell what will happen next. When Grace arrives, Dad seems unusually excited, even telling Grace to drop her school bag on the front porch (breaking one of Mom's rules) and hop in the car right away. They drive through town, and Grace is happy the errand is not a stop at Dad's favorite hardware store. They drive right past the ice cream shop--so that's not the surprise. Then they ride out into the country. The mystery is really getting to Grace.
Then I saw it--the sign that was the biggest clue of all. A sign that said


The surprise is the cutest dog Grace has ever seen.

an a girl suddenly fall in love in two second? Can a girl suddenly love hr parents more in the afternoon than she thought she did in the morning? The answer to these question is yes.

Meanwhile, Mimi's family has gotten the call They have gone to pick up her new sister!

But the surprise is not the ones Mimi expected. Her new sister turns out to be--a brother! The adoption of a girl did not go through, and instead the family has a three-year-old boy named Robert, and Mimi is so disappointed that she can only lie on her bed and cry. Grace knows it's up to her and her empathetic powers to find a way to make her best friend feel better. And maybe her new dog, a girl dog named, strangely, Mr. Scruffers, can help!

Charlise Mericle Harper's seventh book in the popular Just Grace series, the forthcoming Just Grace and the Double Surprise (The Just Grace Series) (Houghton Mifflin, 2011) offers the beginning chapter reader a chance to experience life's changes, sometimes what you've always wanted, and sometimes not, but always a surprise! As always, Harper's third-grade characters are both humorous and realistic, and Grace's funny and insightful narration and her hand-drawn cartoons give early elementary readers a slice of real life along the way to a really good read.

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