Starring Jules (Third Grade Debut) by Beth Ain. Illustrated by Anne Keegan Higgins. Starring Jules series #4. 165 p. Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., August, 2014. 9780545113586. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review)
My favorite budding actress, Jules Bloom, is less than enthusiastic about starting third grade. Transitions are hard and, let's face it, Jules has a lot on her plate what with filming her sitcom every day after school. She really, really wishes problems could be solved in 20 minutes the way they are on the show. She also wishes she could be brave and spunky like her character, Sylvie. Plus, she really, really wanted her former babysitter as her third grade teacher; but she's stuck with Mr. Santorini. Mr. Santorini wears Hawaiian shirts and has a star chart and talks like a sea captain and there's a third grade project called Wax Museum and, it's just all too much!
This is such a sweet series for elementary readers. Jules is a star with talent and aspirations but she's also a daughter, sister, friend and student with very real, relatable worries and hopes. She loves her new best friend, Elinor; is perplexed about her old best friend, Charlotte (and jealous when Charlotte shows up late on the first day of school wearing cool, polka dot eye glasses) and is annoyed by her younger brother, Henry, who is starting kindergarten seemingly without a care in the world. Oh to be a kindergartener again!
The text is punctuated with breezy line drawings. My only quibble is that Jules looks to be a bit older than 8 or 9. The book design is zippy what with the bright yellow cover and red page-edges.
This series is popular over at the elementary school where my colleague states they are rarely on the shelf. Recommended for anyone, especially fans of Clementine, Junie B. or aspiring thespians.