Mills, Claudia. Simon Ellis, Spelling Bee Champ
October 27th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Simon loves playing video games with his friend Jackson, but he's also pretty good at school. When Ms. Molina's class is putting together teams for the school spelling bee (which is being pushed very hard by fun and energetic principal Mr. Boone), Simon wants to do well for his team and win the pie buffet, but when Jackson is bothered by Simon being better than him in most things, Simon has to decide what is most important. The class really gets into the preparations for the bee, with rival classrooms spying on each other's spelling walls, and Simon begins to realize that best friends don't have to necessarily share each others' interests all the time.
Strengths: I love that academics are paramount at Franklin School, and that the children are portrayed as being unashamedly fond of different aspects of school. Mr. Boone is the best fictional elementary principal ever.
Weaknesses: I'm torn-- I get tired of Kelsey only being interested in reading and Izzy only in running, and yet I didn't feel that Simon was invested enough in the spelling!
What I really think: I really enjoyed the other three Franklin School Friends (Annika Rizz and Kelsey Green, Izzy Barr)books and bought them last year when I had many struggling readers. I wasn't as sold on this one, so am debating purchase.