Friday, September 28, 2012

New Girl Back In Town: Cinderella Smith: The More The Merrier by Stephanie Barden

My best friend, Erin, was already in line behind the Rosemarys, so I went to stand by her.

I had to walk to school today with Cinderella," Rosemary T. said to Rosemary W. The way she said it made it sound terrible.

I'm right behind you, Rosemary T.," I said.

She turned around. "I can't believe you were skipping and singing ad holding hands on the way to school! I would never want to look as babyish as you" she said.

"I was so embarrassed," Rosemary T. told Rosemary W. "I walked way back with her mom and pretended I didn't know her."

Third grade had been going great for Cinderella Smith. Her witty and easy-going teacher, Mr. Harrison, likes the way she creates new words like vexylent and awshucksible, and she has always felt that she is friends with everyone in her class. But now her old friend Rosemary T. and her sidekick Rosemary W. seem to have decided that they are too mature to associate with her, banning her from their I Believe in Unicorns Club, and suddenly Cinderella finds herself at odds with the Rosemarys' new clique.

But when Mr. Harrison announces that the best three spellers in his class will compete in the school spelling bee, Cinderella resolves to be one of the winners and show Rosemary that she is mature. As a bonus, Mr. Harrison says that the one who does the best in the bee will get to choose the theme of the fall class party. Rosemary T. doesn't miss the chance for another putdown.

Rosemary T. kept up that mean stare. "Also,when I win the spelling bee and I plan my I Believe in Unicorns party, you can just sit in the hall."

Suddenly the battle lines are drawn. The usually cheery Cinderella, who has always considered herself an average speller, is suddenly determined that she is NOT going to let Rosemary T. win the bee and take over the party planning for the rest of the class. Cinderella and Erin agree to spend every minute they can prepping for the big spelling bee, beginning with a marathon study session over the weekend.

Will the class party be vexylant fun for everyone or another regrettable awshucksible occasion with the Rosemarys in charge?

Stephanie Barden's latest installment in this beginning chapter series, Cinderella Smith: The More the Merrier (Harper, 2012) shows that there's definitely a new girl in town. Abetted by Caldecott artist Diane Goode's lively and appealing illustrations,  Barden's writing is honest but upbeat, with a sure feel for the elementary social scene, including mean girls, Grade 3 version, as Cinderella and friends team up to make the party turn out great for everyone. Move over, Junie B., Judy Moody, Clementine, and Ramona, and make room for the new kid.  After all, as Cinderella says, "The more the merrier."

Barden's initial book in this series is Cinderella Smith.

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