My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date:April 12th, 2016
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Point of View: 3rd Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Friendship, Contemporary, Family
Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.
Raymie wants her father back.
He left her and her mother, and that’s not alright. He shouldn’t have left with that dental hygienist. His place was with Raymie and her mama. She misses him, and she wants him to come back.
She knows just the right way to make him come home: she’s going to compete in the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition and get her picture in the journal. This way, he’s going to notice her and come home immediately.
Oh, poor sweetheart. All she wants is her father back. She didn’t deserve this. A child doesn’t deserve to see their parent walk away like that. I felt a humongous amount of compassion for Raymie.
When a parent walks out of their child’s life like that, it affects them tremendously. No wonder Raymie concocted this slightly ridiculous plan to make her daddy come home. I wanted to give her a thousand hugs as I was reading about her and her adventures.
We also have Louisiana and Beverly, who are going to compete in the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition as well, though for very different reasons. Louisiana is poor, so she needs the money to survive and Beverly… wants to sabotage the whole competition she just finds so ridiculous.
This story is very focused on family and friendship, two themes that are essential in any middle grade novel in my opinion.
Kate DiCamillo’s writing is wonderful. Simple but elegant. This is my second book read from her, and I just know it’s not going to be my last. Oh no.
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