Wowza! There are so many early chapter / middle grade series out there now, and it seems like more and more crop up all the time. I think that this is fantastic because this is such a critical stage for readers, when they first start reading more independently. We need good stuff to grab them, and finding a great series always feels that little bit more delightful because you know you’ve got a lot of great reading ahead. It’s wonderful to have an increasingly wide choice of titles of a really high caliber for these newer readers: Clementine, Alvin Ho, Moxy Maxwell, and now Bobby versus Girls (Accidentally).
This is Lisa Yee’s debut series for middle grade and it’s already grabbing lots of stellar reviews. Speaking of stellar, it will be one of Horn Book’s starred titles for September/October, and it deserves it. Bobby versus Girls (Accidentally) follows Bobby Ellis-Chan as he tries to navigate the beginning of Grade 4 without seriously embarrassing himself. This isn’t easy to you when your dad, a retired football star known as “The Freezer” also happens to be your stay-at-home mom, your best friend is a girl and has suddenly started acting like one, and you have a natural talent for making yourself look goofy in front of your whole class. Lisa captures perfectly that tricky time for kids around the age of 10 when boys and girls aren’t supposed to get along, let alone be friends. She shows how this time of figuring out friendships and taking chances with new people is not simple for a kid who has always had the same best friend since forever. I liked that the characters are well-drawn in not a lot of pages, and there’s a sweet sense of humour that will appeal to boys and girls alike. She’s got the up and down again dynamic of friendship at this age just right. It’s day-to-day life, captured with freshness. Plus Dan Santat’s bold and expressive illustrations looked pretty great even in draft form in my ARC, matching Lisa’s energetic and straight-up writing style completely. Put Bobby versus Girls (accidentally) into the hands of any kid trying to figure out a friendship gone wacky. Problem solved!
Bobby versus Girls (Accidentally) is published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic.