Gertie's Leap to Greatness

4 CDs. 4:13 hrs. Listening Library. Oct. 2016. $30. ISBN 9781101915783.
Gr 3–5—Gertie Foy is on a mission to make herself the world's best fifth grader. Then she'll confront her mother, who abandoned Gertie as an infant. She also is determined to improve her grades and earn the lead in the school play. That will show everyone. Gertie is indomitable, but the plucky girl's bravado covers some insecurities. Unfortunately, a new girl, Mary Sue, upsets Gertie's big plans for success with sneaky schemes of her own. Often impulsive, Gertie battles with classmates but finds support from her loving dad, a crusty but kind great-aunt, an understanding teacher, and a loyal friend. Intrepid, despite a series of provocations, disappointments, and mistakes, in the end, Gertie puts her personal goal aside to help a needy Mary Sue. Narrator Tara Sands alternates soft, sad, and strident Southern-accented dialogue with equal ease, including moments of tongue-in-cheek humor.
VERDICT With an appealing cover and useful information, plus good sound quality, this is a solid choice for elementary school libraries. A perfect companion title for readers who enjoy Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby, Donald Sobol's Encyclopedia Brown, and other funny, thoughtful characters. ["Sure to resonate with fans of spunky female protagonists": SLJ 5/16 review of the Farrar book.]

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