Ellie McDoodle New Kid in SchoolTitle: Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School
Author: Ruth McNally Barshaw
ISBN: 9781599902388
Pages: 188 pages
Publisher/Date: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, c2008.

My house: Gone. We’re moving away, and I probably won’t ever see it again. Good-bye room. Good-bye, bird tree. Good-bye, four-leaf clover patch. … Good-bye, basement. … Good-bye, playroom in the attic. … All these things make this MY house. We can’t move. We can’t abandon all these special things! But we are. Everything is for sale. My memories, my whole life–sold, to the highest bidder. (2-3)

Ellie “McDoodle” is moving two hours away. New school, new house, new room, and no friends. In fact, she finds classmates playing “new kid bingo” behind her back, the art teacher (of all people) doesn’t like her, and her older brother keeps playing practical jokes on her, like tying all her socks together and draping them around the house. However, when Ellie starts fighting for shorter lunch lines and better food, will it rocket her to popularity or backfire in her face?

Ellie McDoodle is back and just as good! Speaking as a previous new kid, it seems like she makes friends a little too quickly for my reality, it’s easy to suspend belief for this story that takes place over about a week’s time. The illustrations are wonderful, and the book is filled with word games, jokes (both practical and knock-knock), and even oragami instructions. There’s new characters, not only Ellie’s classmates, but we get to see her brother Josh and a classmate’s Down syndrome brother is treated with compassion and understanding. I know a lot of kids who are anxiously awaiting the third book, due out in summer 2010. I personally like the Ellie McDoodle series better than Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but I know that’s a personal opinion. 🙂

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