Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Candy Corn Contest, by Patricia Reilly Giff

Even though I prefer reviewing full-length novels aimed at middle-grade and young adult readers, I definitely don’t want to overlook some of the outstanding chapter books aimed at younger boys.  Patricia Reilly Giff’s “Polk Street School” series is an excellent example of these.  One great advantage of this series is that if you like the characters, you can pick up the next book and follow your new friends into their next adventure!

In “The Candy Corn Contest”, Mrs. Rooney hosts a contest with her second grade class to see if anyone can guess the number of candy corns inside a jar on her desk.  No one is successful, and during the week Richard “the Beast” Best accidentally discovers that the magic number is written on the bottom of the jar!   Richard doesn’t want to be a cheater, so he has to find a way to get out of the contest without ruining everyone else’s fun.

This situation might seem simple, but it’s probably a major ethical dilemma for a second-grader!  I think that the intended audience would really identify with Richard, especially if they thought he might get in trouble for being honest.  What do you think you would do if you were in his position?  Have you ever had to admit that you’d done something wrong, even though you knew that your honesty might get you in trouble?

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