Thursday, October 10, 2013
The Candy Smash by Jaqueline Davies
232 p. (The Lemonade War series #4) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group, January, 2013. 9780544022089.
Fourth grade continues for Jessie and Evan Treski. As Valentine's Day rolls around, Jessie is trying to come up with ideas for her extra credit newspaper and Evan is discovering that he loves poetry. He's even attempting to write some, secretly. He's also noticing that Megan is looking pretty good but gets embarrassed when his friends tease him about having a crush on her.
Then, candy hearts begin showing up on everyone's desk and no one knows who's doing it. Everyone seems to be getting personal messages but Evan.
This summary really does no justice to this installment in The Lemonade War series. It's probably my favorite one in that Evan's journey is so carefully crafted. Each chapter begins with a definition, mostly about the craft of writing, such as onomatopoeia, and personification and such. Ms. Overton had recently instituted a "Poem of the Day." Evan felt "they were like music, and they made something deep inside of him go zing."
The poem that the class dissects is one by e.e. cummings and Jessie has an instantaneous dislike to it for its "mistakes." Ms. Overton leads the class in a discussion about the poem that is instructive but also feels real. Evan has some problems reading and really appreciates the fact that not only does Ms. Overton read the poem, but goes over it line by line so that he can read it to himself later. He always finds a way to sneak a copy of each poem to take home without anyone knowing.
The brother/ sister dynamics are complicated what with Jessie being accelerated into Evan's class in fourth grade. She's also a bit opinionated, tends to miss social cues, and very right-brained. She is sensitive to her brother's feelings though and does try to toe the line, especially at school.
Fans of the previous books will happily devour this one. It can stand alone quite nicely though. Highly recommended.