Review Detail

Kids Fiction 615
Remember your favorite stuffed animal?
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Cody's brother Wyatt has a new obsession-- a bicycle. Specifically, a very spiffy bike that he saves up a large amount of money to purchase. Cody feels that this is taking up too much of his time, and misses hanging out with him. She has a new friend, Pearl, and has her first sleepover. Pearl suggests that they trade toys, and Cody reluctantly agrees to let Pearl have Gremlin, her favorite toy and confidant that her brother gave her. When Wyatt's bike is stolen, Cody wishes she had Gremlin back to talk to, and eventually "borrows" him back, letting Pearl think that he has been stolen. Cody also suspects that the Meens have stolen the bike, and at one point there is a big chase to get the bike back. Cody has to come clean to Pearl and hope that their friendship can be saved.
Good Points
I love Cody's busy but supportive family. Her mother is especially amusing, since she is the manager of the shoe department in a local store but doesn't cook or handle the home situation terribly well. Wyatt is a typical teen, and his relationship with Cody realistic. Cody's teacher is fun as well-- his shirt is tucked in and his hair is combed in the morning, but he's a mess by the end of the day. The fact that he is firm and has set rules, and Cody likes him anyway is a good example to set.

Friend drama in elementary school can consume so much of a child's thoughts, even if the issues at hand look trivial and insignificant to grown ups. Cody's feelings for Gremlin are spot on, and her tentative relationship with Pearl is something that young readers will understand.

This is a great series for elementary school students that even does well with reluctant middle school ones readers, since the books are short and have Eliza Wheeler's appealing illustrations. Get your reader hooked with the summer-oriented Cody and the Fountain of Happiness, and alternate Springstubb's books with other series that showcase elementary school friendships, such as Rissi's Anna, Banana, Meyerhoff's The Friendship Garden, and Potter's Piper Green books.
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