Cody and the Fountain of Happiness

Overview

Middle-grade readers drawn to Judy Moody or Clementine will find a funny and charismatic companion in Cody, star of this delightful new series.

For whimsical Cody, many things are beautiful, especially ants who say hello by rubbing feelers. But nothing is as beautiful as the first day of summer vacation, and Cody doesn’t want to waste one minute of it. Meanwhile, teenage brother Wyatt is moping over a girl, Mom is stressed about her new job as Head of Shoes, Dad is off hauling ...

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Cody and the Fountain of Happiness

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Overview

Middle-grade readers drawn to Judy Moody or Clementine will find a funny and charismatic companion in Cody, star of this delightful new series.

For whimsical Cody, many things are beautiful, especially ants who say hello by rubbing feelers. But nothing is as beautiful as the first day of summer vacation, and Cody doesn’t want to waste one minute of it. Meanwhile, teenage brother Wyatt is moping over a girl, Mom is stressed about her new job as Head of Shoes, Dad is off hauling chairs in his long-distance truck, and even camp has been closed for the summer. What to do? Just when all seems lost, Cody bumps into a neighborhood boy named Spencer who is looking for a runaway cat. With a new friend and a soon-to-be-found cat, Cody is on her way to the fountain of happiness.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/02/2015
Cody is thrilled to be on summer break and even happier that her camp has been cancelled. She envisions a summer of relaxation and freedom, but soon realizes that having “nothing to do” can get tiresome and that a lovelorn teenage brother isn’t always the perfect playmate. Fortunately, Cody meets Spencer—a quiet, lonely boy visiting his grandmother—and helps him find his missing cat, MewMew. In between feeding her pet ants, playing matchmaker, and learning to become ambidextrous, Cody tries to befriend Spencer, but meets resistance. Springstubb’s (Moonpenny Island) multicultural neighborhood comes to life nicely through Wheeler’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations, and while Cody’s zest for life and constant positive energy can be over the top, her boundless desire to be a good friend is inspiring. Wise advice (“First days are always hard. But everything will work out”) and vibrant imagery (“Search back through the mists of time, and you would not find a shoe salesperson who worked as hard as Mom”) round out this pleasing tale of friendship and family. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
Secondary characters are fully fleshed, allowing for a deep, satisfying reading experience for children ready for longer books. Cody is sure to make friends with many readers, who will cross their fingers and hope for further adventures.
—Kirkus Reviews

Every First Day of Summer should start with Cody. Whether communing with ants, spouting science, or curing a case of the whim-whams, Cody’s story is witty, heartwarming, and wise.
—Megan McDonald, author of the Judy Moody and Stink series

Cody is perfectly charming and charmingly imperfect! I’m already hoping for more.
—Sara Pennypacker, author of the Clementine series

Every once in a while, a book comes along that has tremendous heart, wit, and a voice so original and full of pure charm that it practically sings. This is such a book, and Cody is such a girl.
—Shawn K. Stout, author of the Penelope Crumb series

Cody’s heartfelt intentions do not always yield the expected results, but that’s precisely the pleasure in this sweet story that celebrates friendship and community connections. Set in a multiethnic neighborhood and featuring a biracial, Hispanic family, this will be a great fit for libraries looking to strengthen the diversity of their collections.
—Booklist

Springstubb’s (Moonpenny Island) multicultural neighborhood comes to life nicely through Wheeler’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations.... Wise advice ("First days are always hard. But everything will work out") and vibrant imagery ("Search back through the mists of time, and you would not find a shoe salesperson who worked as hard as Mom") round out this pleasing tale of friendship and family.
—Publishers Weekly

Cody’s lively voice and keen observational skills build an involving story line out of the seeming simplicity of a vacation spent at home. Wheeler’s stylish spot illustrations throughout suggest a diverse cast in this suburban setting.
—Horn Book

Artfully drawn sketches.
—School Library Journal

School Library Journal
02/01/2015
Gr 2–5—For quirky and capricious Cody, life is full of many beautiful things: her pet ants, summer vacation, and even her older brother, Wyatt. Yet, the start of this summer is not looking as promising as she had hoped. Cody's mom is offered a new position at work that keeps her busy, and Cody's camp has been canceled. That means she has to spend her vacation with her moody brother, who is moping over a girl. As Cody tries to make the best of the situation, she meets her new neighbor, who has just lost his cat. With Spencer, her ants, and her ability to see the brighter side of a situation, the child turns her not-so-good vacation into an adventure. With artfully drawn sketches mixed into the low-level text, this short novel may attract transitional readers. However, the plot is thin and somewhat boring. Cody is likable enough, but there is not enough development in the supporting characters and plot for readers to be drawn in. VERDICT This book falls short of Barbara Parks's popular "Junie B. Jones" series (Random).—Brittney Kosev, Dave Blair Elementary School, Farmers Branch, TX
Kirkus Reviews
2015-01-10
Well-meaning Cody is excited about the first day of her summer vacation. First Cody communes with her beloved ants, and then she wakes her 14-year-old brother, Wyatt, with her special rendition of "You are My Sunshine." But Wyatt's no fun—if he can't sleep, he would rather think about science or his crush on popular Payton Underwood. Meeting visiting Spencer and his grandmother's deaf cat, MewMew, brightens Cody's mood. Spencer is younger than Cody and glum that his parents are away, but he is drawn to sunny Cody and her promise to hypnotize the cat. Cody wants to help everyone, but things go awry. Her mother's trial promotion to Head of Shoes is threatened when her boss finds Cody's thoughtless note; Cody gets in the middle of her brother's romantic life; and MewMew goes missing, all because of Cody. It's hard not to cheer for Cody, with her sunny disposition and penchant for optimistic similes. Frequent black-and-white illustrations show a short-haired Cody and her bespectacled, curly-haired, brown-skinned friend enjoying the joys and sadness that summer friendships bring. Secondary characters are fully fleshed, allowing for a deep, satisfying reading experience for children ready for longer books. Cody is sure to make friends with many readers, who will cross their fingers and hope for further adventures. (Fiction. 7-10)
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Lively, affectionate Cody loves animals, especially ants. Since it is the first day of summer vacation, she now has time to spend outdoors doing just as she pleases. Her family lives in a multicultural city neighborhood—from the illustrations, Mom appears to be of Latino heritage, genius teen brother, Wyatt, knows Spanish and their trucker Dad is defined by his cowboy hat. Sitting outside, Cody meets visiting Spencer (with springy curly hair), who’s lost his grandmother’s cat, MewMew. Eager to help, Cody spots the enormous creature in a tree and promises Spencer she can hypnotize MewMew so the cat will never run away again. From that beginning, Springstubb fashions a sweet story of family closeness and neighborhood friendship. Readers discover that Mom is nervous about a promotion in her job at a shoe store, Wyatt is having trouble with his complexion and his crush on a near-perfect girl, and Dad is often away driving his truck. Cody realizes that she really wants to be friends with Spencer, MewMew, and Spencer’s wise grandmother, GG, a biology teacher who loves to dance. The summer’s filled with fun (like a surprise visit from generous Dad), but Cody faces challenges, too. She must help and support her mother while learning to take on more responsibility as Mom works extra hours. Spencer, missing his parents terribly, often needs Cody to cheer him up, and Wyatt also needs help, especially when Mom hires his dream girl, Payton, as a babysitter. Springstubb is adept at introducing details that help establish character: the stunning shoes Mom gets to wear because of her job, Grandma Grace’s exuberant T-shirts and the nest of glasses in her hair. The final challenge occurs when MewMew (obviously not hypnotized) disappears. A lovely night scene, enhanced by Wheeler’s cool, sleek black-and-white illustrations, leads to the story’s satisfying conclusion. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft; Ages 8 to 11.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763658571
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 4/14/2015
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 237,975
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Tricia Springstubb

Tricia Springstubb is the author of the award-winning novel What Happened on Fox Street and its well-loved sequel, Mo Wren, Lost and Found. She is also the author of the picture book Phoebe & Digger, illustrated by Jeff Newman. Tricia Springstubb has worked as a Head Start teacher and a children's librarian. She lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Eliza Wheeler is the author-illustrator of Miss Maple’s Seeds and the illustrator of the Newbery Honor Book Doll Bones, written by Holly Black. Originally from northern Wisconsin, Eliza Wheeler now lives in Los Angeles.

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