Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Raymie Nightingale

Raymie Nightingale

Spring 2016 Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763681173
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Raymie's father ran off with a dental hygienist, but Raymie has a plan to lure him back. She is going to master baton-twirling and do good deeds so she can win the 1975 Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition. She'll get her picture in the local paper, her father will see it and be so impressed that he'll return home.

In June, Raymie starts taking baton twirling lessons from Ida Nee, an older woman - "at least over fifty" - who has yellow hair and white boots and was a world champion baton-twirler. Two other girls, Louisiana Elefante, a fragile, sickly waif whose trapeze artist parents died leaving her with an eccentric grandmother, and Beverly Tapinski, a tough cookie with a pocketknife whose father is a policeman in New York City are in her class.

Both Raymie and Louisiana want to win the competition, but for different reasons. Raymie wants to win back her father, and Louisiana wants to win because she and her grandmother are desperate for the one thousand nine hundred and seventy-five dollar prize. Beverly, on the other hand, announces that she wants to sabotage the competition.

As her "good deed," Raymie decides to read a book about Florence Nightingale to patients in the local nursing home. But when she's frightened by one of the patients, the book falls under the bed. Raymie enlists Louisiana and Beverly to help recover the book and needless to say, misadventures ensue.

Dicamillo's deft writing guides the three through loss, unlikely friendships, coming of age questions, and an exciting denouement.

Kemie Nix   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children's Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents' Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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