by Candice Ransom
published by Disney-Hyperion
The BlurbRebel McKenzie wants to spend her summer attending the Ice Age Kids' Dig and Safari, a camp where kids discover prehistoric bones, right alongside real paleontologists.
But digs cost money, and Rebel is broker than four o'clock. When she finds out her annoying neighbor Bambi Lovering won five hundred dollars by playing a ukulele behind her head in a beauty contest, Rebel decides to win the Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department's beauty pageant. Rebel may not be a typical pageant contestant, but how hard can it be? Rebel's dramatic reading about life is the Pleistocene era is sure to blow away the competition.
It turns out that winning a beauty pageant is harder than it looks. By the end of the summer, Rebel has learned a thing or two about her true calling that will surprise everyone--most of all, herself.
My Two Cents
I loved meeting with my daughter and all of her (almost) fourth grade friends, as usual. I must say I was completely surprised by the mixed reviews they had of this book. I thought it was well written, with good structure and pacing, and so, so funny! I love the southern charm and setting, as well.
I had one little girl ecstatically talking about it with me. She said she laughed through the whole thing. I had several who liked it, though not as passionately as her! But I just couldn't believe how many in the group claimed to not liking it at all! Some admitted that they chose not to finish because they just couldn't get into it. Some of the moms explained that they thought some of the jokes were a bit over their child's head.
That might explain it, but I'm not sure. It just goes to show that no two people read the same book. We all bring our experiences and thoughts to each book and read through our own lens. I think you should read this book, the themes of family and friendship run deep and it is a joy watching Rebel discover who she really is.
Discussion Question for Rebel McKenzie
1. What was your favorite part of the book? Why?
2. Was there a part of Rebel McKenzie that made you laugh out loud? What was it?
3. Who did you think would win the beauty pageant? Why?
4. What do you think happened to Miss Odenia? What clues from the book led you to that?
5. What do you think made Rebel change from a "fake friend" to a real one?
For more about the talented Candice Ransom, check out this excellent post from one of my absolute fave bloggers (and a fab author to boot!), Cynthia Leitich Smith!