Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge
by Kristin L. Gray
a Paula Wiseman Book
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Fourth grader Vilonia hasn’t lost her rain coat in the three weeks she’s had it, and she’s brushed her teeth every night and she’s volunteered to be the Friday Library Helper. But all that hard work is worth it if it means she can get a dog. Besides, this dog isn’t just because Vilonia has wanted one for pretty much ever. It’s also to help Mama, who’s been lost in one, big sadness fog for forty-three days—ever since Nana died. But Vilonia read that pets can help with sadness.
Now all she has to do is keep the library goldfish alive over spring break, stop bringing stray animals home, and help Mama not get fired from her job. And she’s got to do all of it before the Catfish Festival. Easy as pie, right?
My quick thoughts:
Vilonia needs to be in 3rd-5th grade classrooms! The early middle grade reader is going to love her heart - which leads her to crazy adventures. Vilonia always has the best intentions, if not the best outcomes! Every time she tried so hard but didn't always meet with success, I wanted to jump in the book and cheer her on or give her a hug!
Readers who are just getting into middle grade books need books like these - characters they can relate to (even when the experiences aren't exactly the same, they get their feelings), adventures that seem realistic or known, and ups and downs and highs and lows that keep you reading.
I hope Vilonia finds a spot in your classroom! I'm looking forward to introducing her to readers!