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Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Big, Fat Quitter

Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Big, Fat Quitter

5.0 2
by Carmella Van Vleet, Karen Donnelly (Illustrator)

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A preteen girl struggling with ADHD must stick with a summer taekwondo class to prove that she’s dedicated enough to pursue her true passion: cake decorating.


A preteen girl struggling with ADHD must stick with a summer taekwondo class to prove that she’s dedicated enough to pursue her true passion: cake decorating.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Van Vleet, the author of several nonfiction books for children, takes a strong first step into middle-grade fiction with this novel about an 11-year-old with ADHD. Eliza's parents dash her dream of taking a summer cake-decorating class with a celebrity TV pastry chef, saying that it's too expensive and that she will soon lose interest. Resolute, Eliza strikes a deal with them: if she fills (and keeps) the spot in a taekwondo class that her brother quit, she can take the cake class in the fall. Developing the concentration, memory skills, and self-confidence that the martial art demands is an enormous challenge for the easily distracted Eliza; some readers may grow tired of the detailed accounts of Eliza's taekwondo classes. But the story's other tangents—including Eliza's longing for acceptance among her peers, her pain at being snubbed by her best friend, and her resentment of her mother's preoccupation with her job—are easy to identify and sympathize with. Lively dialogue, quick-moving snippet-style chapters, and believable family interactions give this story additional kick. Ages 7–11. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Eliza Bing, 11, is not a big, fat quitter, or is she? Her track record isn't great. She has a history of not following through with activities—Junior Scouts, gymnastics, tap, piano…. So, when she wants to sign up for a cake-decorating class with her bakery loving friend, her parents flat-out say no. Eliza strikes a nearly impossible deal with her parents: if she can finish a tae kwon do class over the summer, she can take cake decorating in the fall. For Eliza, this is easier said than done. She has ADHD and no interest whatsoever in martial arts, Master Kim is strict, she can't remember all of the Korean words, and mean girl Madison is in the class. As the summer progresses, Eliza finds it difficult to focus in class and she contemplates quitting, but she is determined not to be a loser. With family support, she finds internal strength she didn't know she had, but an injury threatens her completing the class and earning a yellow belt. Fast moving and humorous with chapter titles such as "Sticky Note to Self: Wear White Underwear on Wednesdays and Saturdays," feisty Eliza will have readers, especially those with ADHD, rooting for her.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A girl who has trouble following through finds a reason to stick with her martial arts class. Eleven-year-old Eliza Bing will do anything to take a cake-decorating summer class with her friend Tony. Unfortunately, Eliza has a history of quitting new activities, and her parents tell her no. Determined to change their minds, Eliza negotiates a deal: If she finishes a taekwondo class over the summer, she can take the baking class in the fall. With no interest in martial arts, Eliza, who has ADHD, has created a real challenge for herself. The dobok robe is hot and scratchy, and the Korean words are impossible to pronounce. She even has to practice with Madison, the beautiful cheerleader who has bullied Eliza in the past. But Eliza realizes the biggest obstacle to her success is her own difficulty focusing. While striving to finish the martial arts class in order to frost cakes in the future, Eliza discovers a new strength she never knew she had. Van Vleet portrays a loving nuclear family that finds constructive ways to work with Eliza's attention-deficit challenges. Will Eliza be able to finish the class when an unexpected injury jeopardizes her chance to prove her persistence to her parents? The anticipation builds as her yellow-belt exam quickly approaches. Eliza's personal growth is full of realistic hopes and challenges that will resonate with many readers. (endnote, glossary) (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Carmella Van Vleet is a former elementary school teacher and the author of numerous books for children and adults. Her work has appeared in Highlights for Children and Parenting. This is her first middle grade novel. She lives in Ohio.

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Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Big, Fat Quitter 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont get the one blow me
Christine_Kohler More than 1 year ago
ELIZA BING IS (N0T) A BIG, FAT QUITTER by Carmella Van Vleet is ideal for all children from those reading early chapter books through middle grade. The word choices, short sentences, and short chapters make it accessible for HI/LO, reluctant readers, and short attention spans. [Note to teachers: I am making this recommendation as one who writes school and library books according to Lexile, FK and specific word lists.]     Even if your child does not have ADHD like the main character Eliza, most all children could learn something from Eliza concerning developing self-discipline and perseverance. Yet ELIZA BING IS (N0T) A BIG, FAT QUITTER is not didactic. The reader struggles with Eliza as she works through her problems, both in relationships and in sticking with taekwondo and goal to not be a quitter.  I read this book on the Class of 2k14 ARC tour but was not paid nor influenced for my review. In fact, I plan to buy a copy from B&N for two young readers in my family. I want this book to be one I will read to them and then they can read over and over again.