Monday, February 10, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: KELSEY GREEN, READING QUEEN by Claudia Mills

KELSEY GREEN, READING QUEEN by Claudia Mills (Margaret Ferguson Books, FSG 2013)

What It's About (via Goodreads blurb): 
Kelsey Green is the best reader in the third grade--well, maybe tied for best with know-it-all Simon Ellis. When the principal Mr. Boone announces  a school-wide reading contest, complete with a pizza party for the winning class and a special certificate for the top readers in each grade, she knows she's just the person to lead Mrs. Molina's third graders to victory. But how can they win when her classmate Cody Harmon doesn't want to read anything, and even Kelsey's best friends Annika and Izzy don't live up to her expectations? And could Simon possibly be reading all of those books that he claims he is, or is he lying to steal Kelsey's rightful spot at the top?

Opening Lines: "Kelsey Green no longer heard any of the voices in her third-grade classroom. All her attention was focused on the book spread open beneath her desk."

Why I Liked It: This is probably more chapter book than middle grade, but it did have an appealing character in Kelsey, and a strong arc. Kelsey is far from perfect--she's bossy and competitive for a start--but she is also redeemable. The strongest evidence about this is in her change of heart about Cody, who struggles with reading about as much as Kelsey does with math. Kelsey has to rein in her impatience and gets some self-knowledge as she helps Cody haltingly read his way through Henry and Mudge.

There are some nice friendships, an appealing Principal, and a long-suffering teacher in the mix. The writing is very assured.

I'm looking forward to the next in the series of Franklin School Friends: Annika Riz, Math Whiz and Izzy Barr, Running Star.

About the Author (from the back jacket): Claudia Mills is the acclaimed author of many books for children, including Fractions = Trouble and Being Teddy Roosevelt. She lives in Boulder, Colorado. 

Web site: Claudia Mills, Author
Blog: An Hour A Day

Claudia Mills is represented by Stephen Fraser (my agent) at the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency.