cover image Double Dog Dare

Double Dog Dare

Lisa Graff. Philomel, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-25516-8

More than anything, Francine Halata wants to be the news anchor of the fourth-grade Media Club: “I need the practice, for when I’m a famous animal trainer, with my own TV show.” But when a new kid, Kansas Bloom, the self-proclaimed “King of Dares,” is nominated for the anchor position, the two students begin a two-week dare war to win the job (Kansas doesn’t even want the job, but can’t resist a dare). The challenges start small (licking a lizard, hanging upside down on the monkey bars for all of recess), but soon escalate to hair dying, ketchup eating, wearing a tutu to school, and running underwear up the flagpole. Francine and Kansas attempt to outsmart each other every step of the way, and all of the nonsense is a welcome distraction from their parents’ divorces. Graff’s (Sophie Simon Solves Them All) story is lighthearted and humorous, but honestly addresses the emotions associated with divorce. Her characters’ voices, interactions, and hangups are relatable, as they battle each other and adjust to their families’ reconfigurations. Ages 8–12. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Apr.)