Allen, Crystal. The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: The Wall of Fame Game
January 31st 2017 by Balzer + Bray
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Mya is back, along with her older brother Nugget, her father, and her expectant mother. She is bound to beat former friend Naomi at the school educational trivia game, The Wall of Fame. This takes a lot of studying, but she is also motivated to enter her mother in the annual chili cook off because she hears fellow competitor Mrs. Frazier gloat that her mother must stay off her feet and won't enter. With all of her other activities, this is a lot, and things get complicated. With the help of her friend Connie, as well as her family, Mya is able to accomplish everything she wants, even if all of her activities don't turn out exactly as she wants them to.
Strengths: This was a generally upbeat story of a girl with a variety of her own interests. Her parents are very supportive and deal with her various meltdowns in constructive ways. I liked how Mya's cooking was portrayed, as well as the mother's pregnancy. The cover and illustrations will make this a must purchase for elementary school libraries.
Weaknesses: Good gravy in the navy, is Mya annoying sometimes! Her cowboy boots, her weird expressions, and the fact that the family refers to the unborn baby as Macey (which made me absolutely certain that the baby would be stillborn-- you just don't tempt fate like that!), all reminded me of why I do not work in an elementary school. I also thought the Wall of Fame game was putting a lot of pressure on children in a less than productive way. I'm all for rote learning (I was a Latin teacher), but the idea of putting children's names on a wall for being able to recite lists of facts seemed odd to me.
What I really think: If the first book were circulating well in my library, I would have bought this. As it is, I think this is a terrific elementary school book that I don't quite understand because I am so engrossed in middle school!