The Worst Mascot Ever

illus. by James Preller. 96p. (Big Idea Gang). HMH. Jan. 2019. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781328857187.
Gr 2–4—After their mascot's costume loses its tail, some Clay Elementary students are ready for a change to their school's image. When Lizzy O'Malley learns Connecticut is not a natural home for armadillos, she and her twin brother, Connor, and their friends Kym and Deon make a plan to present new options to their school principal. With the help of their cheerful and helpful teacher, Miss "Wow Me" Zipsokowski, the Big Idea Gang first pitches a new mascot to their class. Suri Brewster has an objection; she likes Arnold the Armadillo and she likes traditions. After a campaign, a school-wide assembly, and a school-wide vote, Clay Elementary's new mascot, Drake the Dragon, is born. This beginning chapter book showcases logic, problem solving, and collective action. Black ink illustrations offer visual representations of the characters and situations, while breaking up long passages for young readers building stamina.
VERDICT Fans of James Preller's "Jigsaw Jones" and David Adler's "Cam Jansen" series will enjoy the camaraderie and ingenuity of the Big Idea Gang.–Lindsay Persohn, University of South Florida, Tampa and Polk County Public Schools.

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