Bruce Coville I loved Doug Cooney's The Beloved Dearly, which was one of the freshest, funniest books I had read in years. I Know Who Likes You is just as delightful, a delicious romp that had me laughing out loud as I raced through its pages. Ernie, Swimming Pool, and Dusty are terrific characters, and it was great to see them back in action. Doug has a knack for portraying kids who are real but quirky, creating a kind of contemporary Our Gang that any red-blooded kid would be thrilled to hang out with.
Doug Cooney's grade-school grifters are back in I Know Who Likes You, a follow-up to The Beloved Dearly. When Swimming Pool gets kicked out of Miss Ginger's School of Tap & Tumbling, Ernie and Dusty start their own finishing school so Swimming Pool's mother won't make her quit the baseball team ("I have to be a nice, sweet girlie-girl for my mom," says Swimming Pool). Readers will likely relate to the minor crises, shifting alliances and sneaky ploys that pepper the book. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
It is not looking good for the Comets when their star pitcher, Swimming Pool, is given an ultimatum by her mother: no more baseball until she graduates from charm school. Team manager Ernie and clumsy catcher Dusty go ahead with their plans to renovate the dilapidated ballpark, but nothing is the same without Swimming Pool, who is predictably a disruptive influence at charm school, where Miss Ginger fails to appreciate her burping contest and wrong gloves: an outfielder's glove on her left hand and a catcher's mitt on her right. Moreover, Ernie's widowed dad is dating Cat Lady, and someone has left Ernie a mysterious glitter note reporting "I know who likes you," and everyone thinks it's Swimming Pool. . . . The story is fairly desultory in pace, and sometimes Cooney tries too hard for outrageous eccentricity: could even Swimming Pool really think those gloves would be acceptable to prim and proper Miss Ginger? And why do so many authors take a shortcut to creating character by employing outlandish names? But once Ernie and Dusty decide to form their own charm school to ensure successful graduation for Swimming Pool, rollicking fun abounds, especially starring Fred, a big red plastic lobster who doubles as a hall pass and instructor of classroom (and charm school) etiquette, and who unexpectedly turns up in all the wrong (and right) places. Cooney has a fresh, funny voice and unerring ear for humorous dialogue. Young readers will be charmed by this charm school. 2004, Simon & Schuster, Ages 8 to 12.
Gr 4-7-Ernie, Dusty, and Swimming Pool, the gang from The Beloved Dearly (S & S, 2002), are back. A hopeless baseball player, Ernie shows his true nature when he appoints himself manager of the Little League team. Although he is a little cloudy on exactly what his duties are, he knows he gets to run the show, which is what he does best. He assigns a reluctant Dusty to paint the sadly neglected wall of the ballpark. Swimming Pool is the team's star, but her mother has threatened to make her quit if she doesn't go to charm school. The girl tries hard at Miss Ginger's school, but flunks out. Ernie then decides to go into the charm school business to ensure Swimming Pool a diploma and a spot on the baseball team. In this world, adults remain on the periphery-much as children see them in real life-and are not fully developed. In contrast, readers get to know the three main characters very well. The book has a well-balanced mix of description and realistic dialogue. Although it would help to have read the earlier title, where more about the characters is revealed, including the origin of Swimming Pool's name, this enjoyable novel can certainly stand on its own.-Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In this amiable, and considerably superior, sequel to The Beloved Dearly (2002), friends fall apart, then draw back together in school, on the baseball field-and in charm school. Socked with a series of whammies, from a fly ball in the face to an anonymous love note in his backpack, from the news that the Central Comets' star pitcher Swimming Pool is off the team unless she can pass a charm school course, to the sight of his widowed dad dancing in the living room with the Cat Lady from down the street, self-appointed team manager Ernie has a lot on his plate. Fortunately, he also has smarts, a generous measure of common sense, and a world-class gift of gab-all of which is stretched to the limit when Swimming Pool, despite good intentions, flunks out. Climaxed by a dazzlingly ingenious costume party and played out by a cast of teasing, but never mean-spirited preteens, plus a few grownups who actually have a clue, this mild but relentless farce will keep young readers solidly entertained from first page to last. (Fiction. 10-12)