By Deborah Lee Rose
Abrams Books for Young Readers, $15.95, 32 pages
The Spelling Bee Before Recess uses rhyming to tell the story of a spelling bee in the championship round right before recess. Only Cornelius, Ruby, and Slugger were left. The first words were easy, but then as the words got more difficult, Cornelius misspelled mysterious. Only Ruby and Slugger remain. After nine innings both children were going strong so the principal decided to change the rules just a bit and asked the competitors to spell the word and tell the audience what the word meant. Slugger missed the spelling and then Ruby spelled the word correctly and knew the meaning of the word, too. Slugger felt gloomy as he lost. Mrs. Booker reminded Slugger that the way to improve was to READ and remember that there was always next year to try again.
The book ends with a spelling list from the spelling bee, as well as, other words from the book to practice. The story moves quickly with the lyrical rhyming story and the illustrations enhance the events. Every child will be able to relate to the pressure of a contest, losing, winning and ultimately remembering that the loss is not the end of the world. The spelling words are interesting and challenging and this book will be a favorite for your reader.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff