Mya Tibbs is the perky, enthusiastic narrator of this family- and school-based series for advanced chapter-book readers.
Spirit Week Showdown (Magnificent Myra Tibbs #1) by Crystal Allen. Balzer & Bray, 2016, 227 pages
Reading Level: Chapter Book, ages 4-8
Recommended for: Ages 6-10
Mya, just starting 4th grade, is totally looking forward to Spirit Week because it’s a given that her best friend Naomi will be her partner in the daily contests. Together, they’ll rack up enough points to win two free tickets to the Fall Festival, which is a very big deal in their Texas town. Only Naomi seems to be backing out of their plan and—Good gravy in the navy!—Mya gets matched up with Mean Connie Tate instead! The week looks like a huge bust, but Mya will learn some things about her friends, hidden talents will be exposed, and hidden faults revealed. (Meanwhile, Naomi is making some miscalculations about her “new friends.”)
Mya has a treasure in her parents, churchgoing folks who provide support without too much interference. “Things don’t always go right out there in the world. But here, at this table, we’re family and we help each other, understand? That’s what families do.” That doesn’t mean Mya and her brother Micah tell their parents everything they should, which is why complications ensue. This is a classic school story with illustrations of peer pressure, truth-telling, and messing up that manage to resolve happily. The first-person narrative is a little too cute and some characters, like Mr. Winky the principal, are a bit much (“Yes, yes, yes!”) But the fun makes the lessons go down easy. Mya Tibbs is worth another book, and hopefully we’ll get one.
Overall Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
- Worldview/moral value: 4.5
- Artistic value: 3.75