Saturday, August 13, 2022

Surely, Surely Marisol Rainey

Kelly, Erin Entrada. Surely, Surely Marisol Rainey (#2)
August 9th 2022 by Greenwillow Books 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In this sequel to Maybe, Maybe Marisol Rainey, we rejoin 8 year old Marisol and her family, which includes older brother Oz, who is good at sports, Mom, and Dad who works on an oil rig and is home one week a month. They talk to him three days a week. Her best friend, Jada, divides her time between her divorced parents' homes. Jada and Marisol like to play with stuffed animals, and name just about everything. Marisol has a lot of anxiety, and when kick ball is introduced in her phys ed class, she is sure that it will end poorly. It doesn't help that classmate Evie is not only good at sports but mean to her classmates as well. This gets Marisol's "brain train" chugging with negative thoughts. Classmate Felix claims he can talk to animals, which gives Marisol some ideas; if Felix acquired this ability by sleeping on a book about animals, maybe she can snuggle a soccer ball and get skills that way. In the end, Marisol's supportive family and friends help her to work through her issues. 
Strengths: This is a great illustrated  novel for developing readers, and addresses many important issues for younger elementary school students. Even though Marisol is unhappy about kick ball, I thought that the phys ed teacher introduced the lesson in a really productive way; instead of just expecting all of the students to know the rules, he tells them about how the game is played and even has them work on component skills. Phys ed today is not the scary class it was fifty years ago, when "gym" teachers expected everyone to be able to do handstands! Marisol gets angry and has to learn to deal with that, and is able to work with her brother on some skills even though she misses her dad. 

: Like books that paint middle school as terrible, I always worry that negative depiction of phys ed classes aren't helpful. I was very glad to see that Marisol overcame her fear of kick ball and had some success on the field. 
What I really think: I would definitely buy this for an elementary school, but will pass for middle school. Series like Danziger's Amber Brown, Barrow's Ivy and Bean, Brown's Lola Levine, and  and Potter's Piper Green are always a good way to encourage students to find out more about favorite characters. I don't know that anyone reads my favorite, Haywood's 1939 B is for Betsy, but it reminds me of that.


  1. FWIW, I've got family who bought their kiddos the full B is for Betsy series out of concern that modern chapter books were "too sexualized." So there's still interest in the series, but I suspect that interest is limited to very conservative families.

  2. I would have identified with Marisol and sports. Glad gym classes aren't the nightmare they were when I grew up in the 60s. Like the separation theme because it is particularly relevant for military kids and for kids who have parents traveling for work. Will check out this series.