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Rebel McKenzie

Rebel McKenzie

4.4 13
by Candice Ransom

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Rebel McKenzie is an expert on all things prehistoric. How hard could winning some beauty pageant be?


Rebel McKenzie is an expert on all things prehistoric. How hard could winning some beauty pageant be?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ransom (Ida Honeysuckle Discovers the World) again creates a heroine with an unusual passion: 12-year-old Rebel McKenzie wants to be a paleontologist, and her goal this summer is to attend the Ice Age Kids’ Dig and Safari. Instead, she is stuck babysitting her seven-year-old nephew, Rudy, in a mobile home while her 26-year-old sister, Lynette, attends beauty school. An outgoing smart aleck with a talent for “burp-talking,” Rebel decides—along with new friend Lacey Jane—to enter a local beauty pageant to win the money she needs for the Dig. Peopled by offbeat characters—including an annoyingly perfect pageant winner named Bambi; elderly Odenia Matthews, a former hand model who trains the girls for the pageant; and an enormous cat named Doublewide—the book is especially strong in the development of Rebel’s relationship with Rudy, who talks to God at lunchtime and is obsessed with fashion—for corpses. Surprises in both plot and character development create a quick pace; extra material like Rudy’s cartoons and pages from Rebel’s “field notebook” provide welcome and often amusing insight. Ages 9–12. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—As her name suggests, Rebel McKenzie does not like taking "no" for an answer. When her mom tells her she can't afford to send her to the Ice Age Kids' Dig, the 12-year-old plans to take a Greyhound to the summer camp. Unfortunately, she misses the bus and when a policeman returns her home her parents ground her for the rest of the summer. Her older sister, Lynette, saves Rebel by inviting her to move into the nearby "Grandview Estates" (a trailer park) and watch her seven-year-old nephew while Lynette attends beauty school. Rebel is still obsessed with making money and attending camp the following summer so she can fulfill her dream of becoming a paleontologist. She finds a friend in Lacey Jane and an enemy in beautiful and bossy Bambi. When Rebel learns that Bambi has recently won $500 in a beauty contest, she signs up for the Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department's beauty contest. After all, how hard can it be? Luckily, an elderly neighbor agrees to tutor Rebel and Lacey Jane in all things pageant related. Humorous southern euphemisms abound; Rebel's "Field Notebook" entries, beauty quizzes and articles, and cartoon panels are interspersed throughout. The story never gets weighed down by the many issues facing the characters. Rebel is a likable protagonist who certainly knows how to dream big, and this novel will make a fresh addition to summer reading lists.—Alison O'Reilly, Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library, Cutchogue, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Rebel McKenzie is aptly named. While the aspiring paleontologist dreams of unearthing ancient fossils, she must instead spend her summer watching her 7-year-old nephew, Rudy--who prefers hot dogs with his spaghetti, misses his absent father, and routinely saves a seat for God during lunch. Rebel longs to escape the mobile-home park where her sister lives and join the "Ice Age Kids' Dig and Safari" camp, but the family lacks the funds for her to do so. Over the summer, Rebel soon discovers others who are also longing for something: her short-tempered neighbor Lacey Jane, whose mother died the previous winter, and Miss Odenia, a retired hand model who yearns to return to her childhood town. A beauty contest with a cash prize seems to be Rebel's golden opportunity to achieve her goal of getting out of town and into camp. Ransom comically depicts Rebel's endeavors to prepare for the contest and dethrone local beauty queen/neighborhood nemesis Bambi. However, Ransom carefully balances the tale's humor with subtler scenes that convey Lacey Jane's poignant struggle to adjust to her mother's death and Rudy's fragile vulnerability. Spunky and sassy, Rebel redefines beauty pageants in this rollicking tale. (Fiction. 10-13)

Product Details

Disney Press
Publication date:
Single Title (One-Off)
Sold by:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Candice Ransom (www.candiceransom.com) has published more than one hundred books for children, including Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World, Seeing Sky-Blue Pink, Finding Day's Bottom, and The Big Green Pocketbook. She lives with her husband in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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Rebel McKenzie 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a girl named rebel and she is going to live with her sister but her summer vacation gets ruined and she tries out for a beauty pagent since she is a person who likes history and the past she thinks, how hard could this be? In concultion i think this is a really good book and i recommend it for sixth grade.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great ending
Sparklesrich1 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I would say it is for 5th grade reading level or up. I am in fifth grade now and read it at the beginning of this year! It was a just right book for me with a few words now and then that I did not understand.  I would recommend this to a bunch of other 5th graders! Hope I helped some people out with finding a just right book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book and relates to me as the reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am in 5grade and i think this book is awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Has anyone read it? I want to add it to my reading list but I don't know if it's as good as my friends tell me. Please respond to jedi1899 in the headline box. (Top box area) Thanks!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so great i bought it @ the book fair
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hmm.... Rebel Mackenzie huh. Can anyone tell me if this book iz good cuz I'm buying it @ my bookfair on monday. Just askin plz respond use vanillla and sprinkles icecream to identify yourself at the bottom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luved it!!!!! READ THIS BOOK. NOW.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can totally picture this being a Disney movie