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FICTION

Cody Harmon, King of Pets

illus. by Rob Shepperson. 128p. (Franklin School Friends: Bk. 5). Farrar/Margaret Ferguson Bks. Jun. 2016. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780374302238.
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Gr 1–4—A new addition to the series, this installment centers on Cody, a third-grade lover of pets and animals. Cody, who lives on a farm with his mom, dad, and nine-month-old twin sisters, struggles with schoolwork. He is writing a report on pigs—he has an adored pet pig named Mr. Piggins—but would much rather play than do homework. As in the other titles, the principal, Mr. Boone, interrupts the class, this time announcing a pet contest to raise money for the Humane Society. Cody wants to bring all nine of his pets (including Mr. Piggins, a rooster, and three chickens) but doesn't have the $10 entry fee for each pet to participate. Dad offers to pay him extra allowance if he works harder on rewriting his pig report, but that won't be quite enough to cover the full cost. Classmate Tobit wants to borrow Rex, Cody's golden retriever, but after observing Tobit being mean to another animal, Cody is not convinced his friend is sensitive enough to care for the dog. Mr. Boone helps the boys resolve their differences, and all ends well. There is good character development, as well as lots of plot to keep newly independent readers engaged.
VERDICT Another good entry in this realistic fiction series perfect for young readers who have exhausted all of the "Clementine" (Hyperion) and "Ivy and Bean" (Chronicle) books.

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