Willis Wilbur Wows the World

Penguin Workshop. Mar. 2022. 208p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9780593224052.
Gr 3-5–Nine-year-old Willis Wilbur’s summer plans are upended when his best friend, Shelley, finds out her family is spending the entire summer in Hawaii. In need of what his mother calls a Plan B for the summer, Willis, who is white, sets his sights on winning a scholarship for entrepreneurs from the Business Owner’s Organization. When his first idea of being a decorator ends in a sprained wrist, he decides to become a life coach. Despite being bullied and having an anxious guinea pig as his first customer, Willis’s determination wins over new clients as his business picks up steam. As Willis befriends Margo, who hurt his feelings in first grade, he begins to realize that he can exist independently from Shelley and thrive while doing so. Leavitt has created an endearing, plucky hero, whose wit and self-confidence will charm and amuse readers. A cast of likable secondary characters rounds out a plot line that embodies children’s imaginations perfectly.
VERDICT A perfectly fun addition to summer reading lists for middle grade readers; a recommended purchase.

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