cover image Lizard Meets Ivana

Lizard Meets Ivana

C. Anne Scott. Henry Holt & Company, $15.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6093-5

Scott's (Old Jake's Skirts) overwritten novel introduces a shy third-grader who starts at a new school in the spring. Lizzie moves in with her Texas grandmother from Florida while her widower father is off on a Coast Guard cruise. Her classmates include some overly familiar stereotypes: smart-mouthed Brady nicknames her ""Lizard"" and teases her relentlessly but, of course, he is actually sweet on her; the snooty, nearly identical Tiffy and Crystal badmouth their peers and suggest that only they are worthy of Lizzie's friendship. Predictably, the newcomer ignores their advice and befriends the primary target of their ridicule--outspoken, unruly coifed Ivana, who shares Lizzie's passion for reading. Heavy-handed imagery (""The house was a dance of color, like a flower bouquet,"" describes Ivana's home) and belabored prose (in response to some good news, ""Mrs. Lula's students went goofy, making faces at each other, laughing, saying ""YES,"" and squeaking each other's balloon hats"") diminish the novel's credibility and keep readers at arm's length. Though often cumbersome, this tale may offer some comfort to those facing a new school experience, and Roth's affectionate drawings of the buddies helps to keep the tone light. Ages 7-10. (Oct.)