STARRED REVIEW
October 04, 2016

The very best fifth grader

By Kate Beasley, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Debut author Kate Beasley crafts a story packed with wit and down-home charm, led by a heroine with enough spirit and spunk to rival the likes of Junie B. Jones and Ramona Quimby, and complemented by illustrations from Caldecott Honor artist Jillian Tamaki.

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Debut author Kate Beasley crafts a story packed with wit and down-home charm, led by a heroine with enough spirit and spunk to rival the likes of Junie B. Jones and Ramona Quimby, and complemented by illustrations from Caldecott Honor artist Jillian Tamaki.

Gertie Reece Foy is a force to be reckoned with. She always has at least one mission in the works, and she never fails to complete them. Described by her father as “a bulldog with its jaws locked on a car tire,” Gertie’s greatest strength is that she never gives up on anything. So when she finds out that her estranged mother plans to leave their coastal Alabama town, Gertie immediately concocts a plan to convince her to stay: She will become the greatest fifth grader in the whole universe. All she has to do is write the best summer speech, become the smartest student in her class and win the lead part in the play. There’s only one problem: It turns out that Gertie has some competition for the title of best fifth grader, one Mary Sue Spivey, and she won’t be an easy rival to defeat.

This is a classic coming-of-age tale filled with hope and heart. Gertie will burrow her way into your heart right from the very first page, and stay there long after the book is closed. Beasley’s writing sparkles with just the right balance of humor and emotion, and readers are sure to find parts of themselves in Gertie’s quest of self-discovery. 

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Gertie’s Leap to Greatness

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness

By Kate Beasley, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
FSG
ISBN 9780374302610

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