Friday, February 5, 2016

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

Usually, I really don't care for these slice-of-life type of books and rarely buy them since the kids don't check them out often. But this one really grabbed me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cody is excited about the start of a wonderful summer. She's going to enjoy it with reading, watching ants, and hanging out with her family. But it's a little bumpier than expected with her teen brother Wyatt struggling at his science camp and in love and a maybe new friend named Spencer who has a lost cat. Not to mention her mom's new job that isn't going as well as she'd hoped. Fortunately, after some tears and struggles, all ends well.

I loved the depiction of a warm and loving family going through everyday problems. The characters are realistic and have fights and arguments, especially when Cody's ideas don't turn out as well as she'd hoped, but underneath they're basically kind and trying to do the right thing. Nobody dies, gets divorced, has life-threatening illnesses, etc. It's just a simple story of a happy summer with ups and downs.

Verdict: I really loved this - the writing was lovely, the characters realistic and people I'd want to meet, and whole story was just very happy. I liked that the main characters were diverse without it being the point of the story and that Springstubb didn't fall into the "diverse best friend" trap. On the other hand, I'm not sure how many kids would actually check this out. It's a little long for a beginning chapter book, but not quite long enough for the middle grade kids that will read this type of slice-of-life story. It would make a nice read-aloud for younger kids though. I'll have to think about it some more.

ISBN: 9780763658571; Published 2015 by Candlewick; Borrowed from another library in my consortium


Tricia Springstubb said...

Such a surprise and pleasure to find this post! Thanks very much for emphasizing the diversity of CODY's world; it's so important to me to show the world our readers live in. Maybe you'll also like CODY AND THE MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE, which publishes this April. Spencer is on the cover of that one, and the happiness continues!

Jennifer said...

Oooh, exciting! I think I'm definitely going to need this series - it will make a good choice for my upper level book club which has some struggling 3rd grade readers right now.

Tricia Springstubb said...

Wonderful. And if you and your students would like, we can do a (free of course) Skype to discuss the book. You can contact me thru my website!

Jennifer said...

great, thanks!