Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes (review)
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Reviewed by
Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Johannes, Shelley Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker; written and illus. by Shelley Johannes. Disney Hyperion, 2017 [160p] (Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker)
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4847-6738-2 $14.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4847-7412-0 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 2-4

Beatrice has always been quirky, celebrated for it at school and tolerated for it at home, and she’s found a great pal in similarly kooky Lenny. Unfortunately, the start of third grade ushers in a new era, with a no-nonsense teacher who’s got no time for Beatrice’s antics and a made-over Lenny, whose summer away has turned her into a girl who prefers sparkly sweaters over ninja outfits and who’s trading in Beatrice’s mischief for new girl Chloe’s cool ways. Books about friendships falling prey to temptations of popularity are a dime a dozen, but Beatrice’s sweet silliness [End Page 23] and unflappable confidence refreshes the standard plotline. Beatrice is a girl of action, so there’s little angst here, just planned (sometimes not entirely well) missions to get her partner in crime back. Johannes’ art gives Beatrice a unique look, with a football-shaped head, gangly limbs, and a Princess Leia hairdo, and the restricted palette of the illustrations punches up the black linework with some snazzy pinks and oranges. A swift pace, brief chapters, and subtle repetition make this a solid choice for newly independent readers, while Ramona fans and other nonconformists will find good company with Beatrice.

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