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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cody and the Heart of a Champion, written by Tricia Springstubb and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. Candlewick Press, Penguin Random House. 2018. $20.99 ages 7 and up

"Every morning he ate the exact same thing for breakfast. Hooley's peanut butter on toast. When his family went on vacation, they took along a jar of Hooley's. Every night, he kissed his mother first. Then his father. Then GG. If one of them wasn't home, Spencer had a hard time going to sleep. Also, he did not like loud noises, throw-up, or the smell of poop."

Finally, it's spring. We all know how Cody is feeling - ready for all of its splendor and warmth. If you have met her in previous books, you will know that she loves watching ants, has a best friend, Spencer, who lives nearby and a school friend, Pearl.

Things are changing, and Cody is not totally convinced that change is for the better. Her red jacket meant to welcome spring is too small. She really doesn't want it replaced with something new. The ants are not yet convinced it's warm enough to begin their marching. Pearl is spending time with Madison, a top soccer player and know-it-all. Pearl wants Cody to sign up for soccer, too. Spencer has dire warnings about soccer injuries, and no interest in playing. Madison does nothing to endear herself to Cody; but, Cody decides to sign up to play. Coach Yazmin encourages Cody to develop her skills and things on the soccer field improve. That brings some satisfaction.

As all of this is happening, Spencer has taken to building a museum under his grandmother's front porch. He and his family have always lived with GG. But, the family is expanding and they need to find a place of their own. Spencer is reluctant to talk about the move, and the two have a falling out that must be settled. You will love The Museum of Friends.

The secondary characters are as supportive and endearing as in previous stories. Cody's family is loving, helpful and warm. Friends and neighbors make all things better. As the many changes take place, Cody continues to grow and learn and endear herself to fans.

Tricia Springstubb has her finger on the pulse of childhood in this winning series. In Cody, she has created a thoughtful, honest and positive lead character. If you haven't met her yet, you have a treat in store.

Here are the other books in the series:

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness (Candlewick, 2015)
Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe (Candlewick, 2016)
Cody and the Rules of Life  (Candlewick, 2017)

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