Mindy Kim and the Summer Musical (9)

Mindy Kim and the Summer Musical (9)
Age Range
Release Date
July 04, 2023
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Fresh Off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in this adorable chapter book series following Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl—in this ninth novel, Mindy steps into the spotlight.

Mindy can’t wait to be in a local community theater production of Cinderella with her BFF, Sally! Mindy has her sights on the lead role. But instead of Cinderella, Mindy ends up being cast as the evil stepsister! Mindy is worried that means people might see her as mean. Can Mindy figure out a way to make the role her own?

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The Play's The Thing
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Mindy and her friend Sally are interested in trying out for the community play, and they ask their friend Lindsey to try out as well. Since it is a production of Cinderella, all three girls would like the starring role, so go into tryouts knowing that some of them will be disappointed. Lindsey does an excellent job, bringing the director to tears with her singing. Mindy does okay, and has some fun reading the wicked stepsister parts. Sally is nervous, but also has a decent showing. When Mindy finds out that she has been cast as a wicked step sister, she is disappointed, but her father and Julie, her new stepmother, tell her that there must have been a reason that the director, Ms. Kamper, chose her. Sally has a similar role, but Lindsey is Cinderella. The girls all work together well to ensure that the play will be a success, and Mindy and her family even help Sally memorize her lines when her parents are too busy to help. The part of Prince Charming is being played by a boy who is not particularly nice, and when he quits, Mindy points out that there is another boy who has memorized all of the parts AND who is nice, so he gets the part. Mindy, who has been concerned that there is something inherently "not nice" about her because of the casting, has been worried because Julie is pregnant, and she wants to be the best big sister to the new baby. When the audience finds her performance amusing, she is glad that it was her sense of humor that caused her to be picked for the role and not some character flaw.

Good Points
Mindy and her friends' reactions to the casting of the play are very realistic; everyone wants the starring role in a play, even if they won't say it out loud. It was good to see that they were all ready to embrace their assigned roles, and that Sally and Mindy were able to be glad for their friend even though they were sad for themselves.

It has been interested watching the development of Mindy's new family. In the first book, she and her widowed father moved to a new community, and Mindy has slowly and surely come to love Julie, The addition of a half sibling will be an interesting one to investigate, and I love that both the Kims' Korean heritage and Julie's Chinese traditions are equally embraced.

The illustrations help to support the text, and will encourage readers who are moving into longer chapter books. The faces are particularly expressive, and a stage setting might be something that emergent readers might not have seen for themselves.

Readers who have successfully completed shorter chapter books like Butler's Kayla and King and Fang's Ava Lin will enjoy spending time with Mindy and her friends as they navigate elementary school. I could see Mindy sitting at a cafeteria with other fictional chapter book characters like Barnett's Ivy and Bean, Barkley's Critter Club crew, Citro's Zoey Sassafras, and Faruqi's Yasmine.Th
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