Cleo Edison Oliver in Persuasion Power by Sundee T. Frazier features spunky fifth grader Cleopatra Edison Oliver, CEO (she recently decided to change her middle name from Lenore to Edison, so she could have the initials of CEO, thank you very much). Cleo is sure that her newest business idea, Passion Clips™, which she founded with her business partner and best friend, Caylee, is about to take off and make them millionaires. The barrettes Caylee makes are personalized with the catchphrase, “Tell the world who you are!” and can include anything from an artist palette to ballerina slippers. And not only will they be millionaires, but Cleo might possibly get on her favorite TV show, Fortune, hosted by her idol, Fortune A. Davies, CEO.
Since her last business idea, Cleo’s Quick and Painless Tooth Removal Service (find out more in Sundee T. Frazier’s first book about her, Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire), in which she pulled out her fellow classmates’ loose teeth with the help of a Nerf gun, is currently defunct, Cleo she had to move on to another idea. One that her newly formed board of directors (her parents and Caylee’s parents) approves of. But will her newest venture backfire?
Middle grade readers and their parents will fall in love with the ambitious and ever-hopeful Cleo and all her entrepreneurial pursuits. Fans will be glad to know the same characters from the first book, such as her friends and enemy (Lexie Lewis) and her ironically-named teacher, Mr. Boring, also appear in this one, and more information about her adoption is here, too. For new readers, woven into this story about an ambitious and creative young girl persistently following her dreams is the backdrop that she, along with her two little brothers, are adopted. Her family is full of warmth and love and support, but Cleo can’t help but wonder who her biological parents are. Though her little brothers know who their biological mom is, Cleo doesn’t have that information about her own past. Her journey to better understanding her own feelings about being adopted, as well as her feelings about her biological parents is written with care and sensitivity. Young readers (and moms and dads) who are touched by adoption can read this together as a great way to open the doors to more discussion as a family about the different types of adoption, such as open or closed, and also what varying emotions come with each, especially when both are in one family.
Young kids will be inspired to start their own business ventures by reading about Cleo’s successes and failures. Her use of technology, from YouTube to a website for her business, will spark ideas as well. Cleo and the other fifth-graders’ foibles and fumbles will also teach valuable lessons about friendship and listening. The book is entertaining and fast-paced, and the sleepover party alone will get a big laugh from young readers. And after finishing the book, they will be clamoring to know what Cleo’s next big business idea will be and excited to cheer her on along the way.
Are your kids fans of the Cleo Edison Oliver books?