Bea Garcia, welcome to our library. Welcome to all our libraries. We have been waiting for you for so long!
Bea is an artist. She has a best friend named Yvonne. Together they had wonderful adventures. But then Yvonne moved away to Australia and now she's stuck with her little brother the Big Pest (otherwise known as Pablo), a monster next door named Bert, and even her dog Sophie is mad at her. Could things get any worse? Yep, they could. She has to go to the first day of school without Yvonne and with the monster and the Big Pest. Bert gets everyone to call her stupid bee names and he sits right behind her in school! It takes some misplaced artistic talent and a clever teacher to get Bea back on track.
Zemke's illustrated notebook novel hits all the right notes for 2nd and 3rd grade readers. Easy text, engaging pictures, a relatable character, smoothly integrated Spanish phrases, it's all here. Plus, Bea does NOT become best friends with Bert and recognize his stellar qualities in the end (but she does decide he's not quite as bad as he seemed at first).
Verdict: Funny, spot-on relatable, and featuring a clearly Hispanic main character. Buy it immediately. Buy extra copies. It's going to fly off your shelves, I guarantee it!
ISBN: 9780803741546; Published 2016 by Dial/Penguin; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library