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Here She Is, Ms Teeny-Wonderful: 05/23/15

cover art

Here She Is, Ms Teeny-Wonderful by Martyn Godfrey is the May challenge book for the 8th annual Canadian Reads. It's the first of the Carol and Wally trilogy. Carol is a five-canner, meaning she can jump her BMX over five garbage cans. She'd love to move up to being a six-canner but so far, she hasn't managed to. For her, a perfect weekend would be spent on her bike doing tricks and having adventures.

Her mother, meanwhile, believes her daughter could and should be more feminine. She believes in an antiquated feminine ideal and has entered Carol into a brand new pre-teen magazine sponsored beauty contest, Ms Teeny-Wonderful. Carol, to her shock, is a finalist and has been invited from St. Albert, Alberta to Toronto with her mother and a male escort of her choice. Out of desperation to have at least one sympathetic person with her, she invites her best friend and bicycle bro, Wally.

Carol finds herself facing lots of things she doesn't want to but she's too proud and stubborn to back out. She also wants to participate in the contest on her own terms since she was entered without her knowledge. She is a small town girl going to the big city, like a kid from Julian, California flying to New York City.

And then she gets to meet the kids who take this sort of contest seriously. Too seriously. The two to watch out for are a set of twins invited to compete as a single entry: Jean and Joan. Given their obviously wealthy background, spoiled personalities, and down right nastiness, I couldn't help but think of the Biscuit Twins from The Littlest Pet Shop. As that cartoon is a joint US/Canada production, I can only guess that the Biscuits' creator must have read this book. Carol, though, isn't Blythe. She isn't into fashion. She doesn't design her own clothes. She's a stunt rider, through and through, and she's decided to prove to the rest of Canada, that girls can be awesome at it.

I'm not a BMX bike person myself but I'm also not into fashion. I think I would have been mortified if my mother had entered me into a beauty contest. I do, though, love Carol for remaining true to herself, even when facing the bullying of the twins, her own insecurities and fears, and finding her own way to shine on her own terms.

I'm going to leave off with this review with the Biscuit twins doing what they do best, singing about themselves.

Four stars

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