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

Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe

Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe

Fall 2016 Fiction
Ages: 7 - 10 yrs.
Author: Tricia Springstubb
Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763658588
Hardcover Price: $14.99

Cody can't wait for her best friend Spencer to move into the neighborhood. What could be better than having Spencer and his beautiful violin close by? So Cody can't understand when the move doesn't work out quite the way she imagined it. To begin with, Spencer and his parents are crammed up tightly in his grandma GG's duplex. It's cozy, but maybe a little bit too cozy. Spencer and Cody can't go outside to play, because a couple of bullying girls live in the other half of the duplex, and they have claimed the yard as their own. Most disturbing of all, Spencer has bonded with Cody's other best friend, Pearl. The two of them talk about music, and orchestras, and Cody can't join in the conversation. Cody knows that she doesn't have much patience, and that Spencer has a lot of it. But she's starting to wonder if maybe it would be okay to be a bit impatient to make some things change around her neighborhood.

This sweet, funny chapter book balances between the interest of watching the kids' war unfold and the pull of Cody's private reflections and insights. Cody herself is an appealing protagonist, simultaneously impetuous and thoughtful, and readers will enjoy her mishaps and appreciate her attempts to be a good friend, sister, and neighbor. Eliza Wheeler's pen-and-ink illustrations are expressive and appealing. This book is a sequel to Cody and the Fountain of Happiness, but young readers can enjoy it without having read the previous book.

Naomi Lesley   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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