Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo [in School Library Journal]
Before they became the Three Rancheros, the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition brought Raymie Clarke, Louisiana Elefante, and Beverly Tapinski together – each for wildly different reasons.
Raymie is convinced that when her philandering father, who’s run off with the dental hygienist, sees a picture of her in the newspaper wearing the winning crown and sash, he will surely come straight back home. Louisiana hopes the $1,975 prize will keep her from being taken from her eccentric grandmother and made a ward of the state. Beverly just wants to sabotage the contest as the only way to stop her mother from entering her in yet another Little Miss contest.
Former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and double Newbery Medalist (The Tale of Despereaux, Flora & Ulysses) and Honoree Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie) creates a marvelously quirky trio – with a mostly delightful supporting cast (the few men just don’t fare well here) – who help, support, and eventually save one another through unpredictable, exhilarating adventures. Jenna Lamia narrates with equal parts energy and grace, demonstrating an impressive versatility in age and mien.
Verdict: The perfect combination of bestselling author, exemplary narration, and charming story means all libraries should place their orders as soon as possible.
Readers: Middle Grade