Beasley, Kate. Gertie’s Leap To Greatness. Macmillan/Farrar Strauss 2016 249p $16.99 ISBN 978-0-374-30261-0 elem/ms Conflict E-BN
Gertie is a fifth-grade girl on a mission. She must prove to her mother, who abandoned her years ago, that she is the greatest fifth-grader on the planet, and therefore change mom’s mind about leaving town with her new husband and family. Gertie has come up with missions before, and they have never failed. But this time, it seems that things keep going wrong for her. First of all, there is the new girl, Mary Sue, who seems to dislike Gertie and turns the other kids against her. Secondly, there is Mary Sue’s mother, who turns all the other kids against Gertie’s dad, who works on an oil rig. Even Gertie’s best friend Jean abandons her. In the face of all these challenges, how is Gertie ever going to prove to her mother that she is the greatest fifth-grader in the world?
The book includes humor and pathos, and is a great character study. The plot hums along and delves deeply into Gertie’s innermost feelings, making her one of the most sympathetic characters I have encountered in children’s fiction lately. There are wonderful line drawings by Jillian Tamaki that capture the feelings, the characters, and the humor perfectly.
Summary: Gertie is a fifth-grade girl on a mission. She must make her mother, who abandoned her, realize just how special she is, and change her mind about loving Gertie. But along the way, Gertie encounters many challenges.
Family-Fiction, School-Fiction, Abandonment-Fiction —Carol Kennedy