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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cody and the Rules of Life, by Tricia Springstubb with illustrations by Eliza Wheeler. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2017. $21.00 ages 8 and up

"...  Cody went to see Spencer.
He and his parents lived right
around the corner with his
grandmother. This was so nice.
The not-so-nice part was that the
house was a side-by-side. And who
should live on the other side but
Molly Meen, Pirate Queen. She
lived there with her sister, Maxie.
And their father, who killed bugs
for a living."

This is the third book in a winning series starring Cody, her family, and her friends. This time, she finds herself making a trade she never meant to make. At a sleepover with Pearl, she agrees to exchange her much-loved and worse-for-wear Gremlin for the almost perfect endangered Arctic Fox. To add to the drama, her brother Wyatt's brand new bicycle is stolen. What more can happen?

Cody is astute and concerned for Wyatt, and for herself. He seems to care more for his bike than for her, even though she helped him assemble it. She thinks she knows who has the bike, and wants to help get it back. She is also very upset that she let Pearl talk her into giving up Gremlin. That feeling helps her to empathize with her brother and his dilemma. She wants to renege on her trade with Pearl; but she knows the rules. Can she follow them when she is so unhappy? How will she get Gremlin back? Her plan angers Pearl, and leaves Cody wondering about the rules concerning truth that govern her life. 

This series is terrific for those readers wanting to move on to chapter books, and a longer story. The dialogue is spot-on, the tone is full of life and often funny. I think that Eliza Wheeler's black and white illustrations are a great match for the story's action.

I have enjoyed all three of the Cody books, and highly recommend them for series readers in grades 2-4. I look forward to meeting Cody again in the future.

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