Author: Naomi Zucker
Publisher: Egmont, USA, 2010. 188 pages
Callie Jones, hero of Callie's Rules (see review), is back, and she's making more progress towards figuring out the strange beings (i.e. adults) who rule her world. This time she's writing for the school newspaper and taking on everything from cockroaches to the Principal, with mixed results.
I think this is a stronger book than the first about Callie and her unusual family, in part because it is in some ways less dramatic. My criticism of Callie's Rules was that it had too many over-the-top characters and situations, and they just didn't fit. Zucker has tamed that down in this book, though there is still the absurd Chief Bloodworth who is in charge of security for their little town, and the Principal remains pretty clueless. But most of what goes on is just believable enough, and keeps the reader laughing even while the story delivers some pretty strong messages about freedom of the press, bullying, and narrow-minded idiots. Though Zucker might not have phrased that last just like that (Callie would, in her thoughts, though). Zucker clearly enjoys drawing the narrow-minded with a bold pen.
The story develops nicely from Callie's simple desire to be a journalist and to find a place in Middle School where she can fit in. Her efforts to find and write stories she cares about lead naturally to clashes with the powers that be, but also to a better understanding of friendship and perseverance. The school year is tied up with a nice triumph for the students and one final great article for Callie.
Callie's still writing down The Rules, too. Some of her best wisdom:
"When parents tell you to figure out something for yourself, it's usually because they don't know the answer." She got that one right.
"Fashion rules don't make any sense. but you have to act as thought they do." Well, Callie and I probably have quite a bit in common!
This was a quick, fun read, and I can recommend it for girls especially, from about 8 up.
Full Disclosure: I borrowed Write on, Callie Jones from my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
In other news: I have brought some order to my listings of book reviews for adults and short stories. Take a look and let me know what you think. Rational order for the children's book reviews will be coming soon. Somehow, when I started, I never thought there would be so many I needed to organize. But I'm looking now and see quite a pile of stories and reviews.