Now that I’ve read Gertie’s Leap to Greatness, the debut middle grade novel by Kate Beasley, I have the perfect “next book” for kids who love Ramona – Gertie is an equally spirited and spunky character. Actually Gertie comes from a distinguished line of bold and magnetic young protagonists – Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Judy Blume’s Fudge, and Kate DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale. Gertie is new to the table, but readers will welcome her enthusiastically!
A fifth grader who lives with her dad and her aunt in Alabama, Gertie is on a mission. Her goal is to convince her estranged mother, who lives nearby, that she is the best fifth grader in the world. Gertie truly believes that if her mother knew how wonderful she is, she would not remarry and move away.
To that end, she sets out to be the best student in her class. But there’s a fly in the ointment whose name is Mary Sue Spivey. Mary Sue reminds me of Nellie Oelson from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novels – the spoiled girl who is used to things going her way.
Gertie is a character with sparkle, and I truly felt heartsick for Gertie when she’s regularly upstaged by Mary Sue. But….there is, for me, a nagging issue with the book. It seems strange that Gertie’s mother lives so close to her daughter – but has no contact with her. I know that reflects reality for some children, but there is no mention of visitation or even any communication between them.
Maybe there will be a sequel that will shine more light on the family. I would like to spend more time with Gertie!
Last week was Inly’s Book Fair, this one brought to us by Scholastic. As I have said to our Scholastic rep, there are some wonderful books in the fair, but there are also too many commercial tie-ins for our community so we have what I refer to as a “modified Scholastic Book Fair.” There are SO many Lego and Star Wars books and products that we could have devoted the entire space to those two franchises, but we began by determining how much space to give George Lucas and then “hiding” the rest behind the shelves. A fun time was had by all – especially the boy who bought the last chocolate calculator!
You may recall from last week’s post that Inly welcomed Marc Tyler Nobleman, the author of books about the creators of Superman and Batman. Inly’s art teacher worked with our 4th, 5th and 6th grade students to create their own Superheroes:
This one is named for Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl…..
And this one might be my favorite….Disability Doggy can “locate people in need of help,” “be in multiple places at once,” and has “superhearing!”