Author: DiCamillo, Kate
Raymie Clarke has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 180940
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 68586
Kirkus Reviews (+) (01/15/16)
School Library Journal (12/01/16)
Booklist (+) (02/15/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/16)
The Hornbook (+) (00/03/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/15/2016 *Starred Review* As 10-year-old Raymie tells it, the only way to bring back her father, who has run away with a dental hygienist, is to become 1975’s Little Miss Central Florida Tire. Surely when he sees her photo in the newspaper, he will come home. But first Raymie must learn to twirl a baton, which is how she comes to be at a twirling lesson flanked by world-weary, subversive Beverly Tapinski and fabulist Louisiana Elefante, a girl stronger than her penchant for fainting would make her seem. DiCamillo’s terse third-person narrative chronicles the everyday agonies of her characters, which include testy old women, a comforting insurance clerk, a swim coach with the secret of life, and two indomitable animals: one dog, one cat. Leaving behind the more fantastical surroundings she brought to The Tale of Despereaux (2003) and The Magician’s Elephant (2009), DiCamillo returns to her southern roots and, in some ways, to her own story (albeit a perhaps more adventurous version), as the girls somehow figure out how to save the world—or at least their own. As in her previous award-winning books, DiCamillo once again shows that life’s underlying sadnesses can also be studded with hope and humor, and she does it in a way so true that children will understand it in their bones. And that’s why she is Kate the Great. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Books by the two-time Newbery medalist and former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature are always publishing events, and this will be no exception. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2016 It’s June of 1975, and ten-year-old Raymie Clarke has a plan: she will learn to baton twirl so that she can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire pageant, which will get her picture in the paper, which will cause her father to realize he should not have run away with his dental hygienist and to return home. Baton twirling lessons fail educationally, but they do introduce her to hard-nosed Beverly Tapinski and elfin Louisiana Elefante, her fellow twirlers. Soon the three girls are comrades (or, as Louisiana insists, “The Three Rancheros”), working together to retrieve the Florence Nightingale biography Raymie left at the nursing home (she was going to read aloud to the residents until one scared her) and, more daringly, to find Louisiana’s beloved cat, who was, according to Louisiana’s grandmother, rehomed at the Very Friendly Animal Center. DiCamillo writes with her usual easygoing delicacy; the portrayals of the girls are swift, telling, and gentle, with elliptical hints at Beverly’s and especially Louisiana’s homelife challenges (lack of money clearly limits Louisiana’s diet). The blurring of the line between the colorful and the fantastical (the return of Louisa’s cat has no earthly explanation) makes the adventures atmospheric, but the guiding principle is always the characters’ emotional truth. While DiCamillo fans will certainly enjoy reading this on their own, it’s also excellent classroom material, encouraging kids to stretch their decoding—and also to realize that even if you don’t get the outcome you want, it’s still possible to find closure. DS - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2016 Gr 4–7—Hoping to attract the attention of her father, who has left home, and her mother, a young girl takes up twirling. While the baton lessons go south immediately, Raymie befriends two similarly vulnerable, lonely kids confronting their own family issues and who, like her, are trying to make sense of a sometimes bewildering world. Filled with heart and hope, DiCamillo's latest masterpiece is populated with characters whom readers won't soon forget. - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.