Twelve-year-old Pogo has her hands full trying to earn money for gymnastics camp, making up with her best friend, caring for her baby stepsister, and helping her mother succeed in business.
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Grade 4-6-Fifth-grader Pogo has been selected to attend summer gymnastics camp, but neither of her divorced parents can afford the $300 tuition. Her mother already has money problems with her kids' craft shop, and her father is too busy being a stay-at-home dad for his young daughter, Grace. Then Pogo comes up with several money-making schemes, such as a backyard gymnastics recital, being a Roller-blading delivery girl, and reinventing her mom's business when she loses her shop. In the end, Pogo realizes that gymnastics camp isn't as important as finally bonding with her half-sister or helping her mother out of trouble. In an anticlimactic ending to this journal-style story, Pogo gets her wish. Unfortunately, the lessons she learns-that she's something of a bully to her best friend, that she can't just jump into an idea without thinking it through, and that the universe really doesn't revolve around her-lose some of their punch when Pogo miraculously ends up in camp and all of her struggles seem to be for nothing. Still, Foland does successfully develop several themes, especially the ups and downs of parent/child relationships.
Linda Bindner, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-6. Pogo (aka Patricia) lives for gymnastics, so she is thrilled when she is tapped for Camp Springboard. The cost, however, is an obstacle for her struggling, divorced mother and her remarried-with-new-baby father, so Pogo sets out to raise some money on her own, recording her triumphs and tribulations in the diary entries that make up this book. In the process, Pogo bonds with her precocious baby half-sister and discovers the scarier aspects of adult finances. The solution (Mom closes her pottery shop and opens a tumbling gym for infants) is not entirely realistic, but children, particularly those who are gymnastically inclined, will relate to and root for Pogo's dedication to work hard for something she loves. Catherine Andronik
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