Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Startup Squad

Weisfeld, Brian and Kear, Nicole C. The Startup Squad
May 7th 2019 by Imprint
Public library copy

Resa is super excited about the upcoming class trip to Adventure Central, and she definitely wants to win the money making competition to get the grand prize-- premium passes that will let her bypass the lines. Their teacher has assigned everyone in the class groups, and the groups must all sell lemonade at appointed times and locations. Resa is glad that her best friend, Didi, is in her group, and Harriet is amusing enough, but the new girl, Amelia, keeps shooting down all of Resa's best plans. TO make matters worse, there is a group of class overachievers who seem to undercut Resa's group at every available moment. They are certainly off to a poor start; they have trouble getting organized, making the lemonade, and even getting the supplies. Eventually, they figure out a way to make their product unique. Even though they run into some trouble even with that, they still manage to make a fair amount of profit. Will the competing group make more?
Strengths: I like books that show students doing and learning things, and this has some excellent notes on business practices at the back, and well as good tips during the story. The friend drama is very true to middle grade, and it's interesting to watch the girls learn how to get organized. This is a good length, and series books are always popular. The cover is very attractive.
Weaknesses: There is the typical multicultural group (Resa is Latinx, Didi in East Asian, Harriet is Vietnamese, and Amelia is the token blonde/redhead), but not many details that set the characters apart from the white default. While it's great to have a variety of characters on the cover and in the story, it would be nice to see more details.
What I really think: The whole premise of assigning children to sell a particular product out in public in order to raise money for a noneducational trip did not ring true to me. While I love books where girls are involved in business efforts (Santopolo's Sparkle Spa, Simon's Cupcake Diaries and Sprinkle Sundays, Schaeder's Teashop Girls), I think I will pass on this series unless the next book has the characters start a business that is less stereotypically  girl oriented. (Lawn mowing would be great!)
Ms. Yingling

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