The Spelling Bee Before Recess

illus. by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis. 32p. Abrams. 2013. RTE $15.95. ISBN 978-1-4197-0847-3.
Gr 1–3—This delightful rhyming tale of one school's spelling bee not only shares new vocabulary with readers but also shows that no one wins at everything. The finals come down to just three students: Cornelius, dubbed the "genius," who is out of the competition first; Ruby, a musically inclined, avid reader; and one baseball player known as "The Slugger," who tells the story of how he does not win the contest. The whole school learns about a new word, "sesquipedalian," when Ruby spells the word correctly and also defines it in a tie-breaking round. A note from the author indicates that the words in this competition were compiled from hundreds of spelling lists from across the country. Colorful, expressive illustrations support the excitement and anticipation created through the text. This story will fill a need in school libraries for books about spelling, vocabulary, sportsmanship, and school community-building.—Lindsay Persohn, University of South Florida, Tampa

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