cover image Who Needs Third Grade - Pbk

Who Needs Third Grade - Pbk

Candice F. Ransom, Ransom. Troll Communications, $3.95 (126pp) ISBN 978-0-8167-2989-0

The first volumes in the Tales from Third Grade series fumble with muddy characterizations and flimsy plots. Amber Cantrell, the heroine of both books, is imaginative and outgoing, but utterly desperate to be center stage--apparently a symptom of her trouble accepting her parents' divorce. In Who Needs , Amber's schemes to rule her class shatter with the arrival of Delight Wakefield, a new student who has lived in Japan and Paris, and has both waist-length hair and a perfect personality. Reader sympathy for Amber plummets in direct proportion to the plot's emphasis on her jealousy and increasingly pathetic attempts to best Delight. Though Delight and Amber reconcile their differences and become friends, the spirit of competition is again invoked in Stars , when Amber's goal of becoming a great gymnast pits her against the talented and more experienced Delight. While the generic problems of rivalries, friendships and classroom conflicts are certainly appropriate material, the themes lose their spark. Ages 7-9. (Sept.)