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.)
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wheeler’s monochromatic ink and watercolor illustrations add warmth and detail to the middle-grade-friendly text and its multicultural cast. Fans of Cleary’s classic Ramona series or McDonald’s Judy Moody titles may especially enjoy creative-minded Cody.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Cody’s rosy outlook, Springstubb’s fresh and imaginative writing, and Wheeler’s whimsical pen-and-ink illustrations make a winning combination.
—School Library Connection
Artfully drawn sketches.
—School Library Journal