Happy release day to this new middle grade title!
We wanted to celebrate it so much that we are featuring a trio of reviews here for it today!
Thank you to Kid Lit Exchange and the author for the review copy of this book ~ all opinions are our own.
Smart Cookie by Elly Swartz
(January 30th 2018 ~ Scholastic)
Frankie is a 6th grader with a best friend, Elliott, a dad, a gram, a beagle and a hedgehog who lives in her family’s B&B in Vermont. She and her dad are terrified of thunder and lightning, because her mom died while driving home one night during a storm. So since that time when Frankie was four years old, she, her dad and her gram have been living in and running the B&B. She and her gram are in charge of making the fresh cookies everyday that are a trademark of the inn, as well as doing other chores around the inn. Her dad maintains the building and grounds and does the cooking.
Frankie has decided it’s time to change that. She thinks her dad works far too hard and he needs to find a new wife, not to mention a new mom for her. And although family rule #10 is no secrets, Frankie has several; one being she has signed her dad up on a dating site!
I loved Frankie. I loved her courage, her resourcefulness, her spunk, her kindness and her creativity. I admired her very special relationship with her grandmother and the other senior center members. I admired her loyalty to her gram, as well as her understanding, when she discovered the secrets about Gram’s new love, and her hoarding issues. I ached for Frankie as she missed her mom, as she struggled to understand why her best friend deserted her and as she longed to be part of a family of three. I appreciated Frankie’s close friendship with Elliott and although they disagreed on things, they were extremely loyal and kind to one another and were an excellent team when it came to solving mysteries and problems.
This is a book that should be added to all elementary libraries and will soon become a favorite with grades 3-6. It would also be a good choice for those younger students who are ready for and requesting a middle grade book, because the subject matter is completely appropriate. I highly recommend Smart Cookie!
And another review of this title!
Frankie lives with her dad and Gram in the Greene Family B&B that they run. Her mom died in a freak lightning storm when she was little and Frankie has always felt like she was missing a piece. Now she’s trying to help find a new mom by posting a dating profile for her dad and interviewing candidates on the sly. Meanwhile, her friend Elliot is convinced there’s a ghost hanging around, Frankie’s former best friend Jessica is acting weird and both dad and Gram have secrets of their own.
Cute and fun, I recommend this for grades 4-6. I will buy it for my middle school library since Elly Swartz’s first book, Finding Perfect, is popular. (If you don’t have Finding Perfect, it’s a must buy for upper Elem and middle grade–about a girl w OCD). This book is a lovely blend of mystery and humor with a bit of a ghost story thrown in. Mostly, though, it’s a story of friendship and family. The book is written in first person and I felt very connected to Frankie by the end of the book. I loved her fierce stubbornness. I also loved all the cute rituals in the book: 4 pm homemade cookies at the inn, cards at the senior center after school, letters to her dead mother, and a fun daily game with her former kindergarten teacher, Annie. Cute!!
And yet ANOTHER review of this title!
SMART COOKIE is a sweet story of a 6th grade girl trying to make her family whole again, while simultaneously chasing ghosts and baking up batches and batches of cookies in her family’s bed and breakfast. What I love most about this story is that it is about a 6th grader, but it is completely appropriate for students all the way down through 3rd grade. I would even give this to a high-level reader in 2nd grade for that matter. There are no crushes or “middle school” behaviors and there are just a whole lot of sincere messages about family and friendship.
recommended for elementary and middle school libraries!
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