Written by Kate DiCamillo
Raymie Clarke has to learn to twirl a baton because she has to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire 1975 title so her father will see her picture in the paper and return home after he ran off with a dental hygienist named Lee Anne Dickerson. Raymie’s fellow students, Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski, lead similarly crazy lives and make Raymie’s life even more crazy. Meanwhile, their baton twirling teacher, Ida Nee, has her own problems, including not being a very good teacher. Raymie is trying to do good deeds for the contest application, including reading a Florence Nightingale biography to the uncooperative and unimpressed elderly. Louisiana tells long, complicated stories about her family. And Beverly wants to sabotage everything and is very good at picking locks. Raymie does hear from her dad, but for an accomplishment other than winning the contest. Louisiana helps her family, if not her cat. Eventually, Louisiana learns that Raymie is not a Nightingale. And Beverly gains friends and a more relaxed perspective. Minor characters add a lot to the fun. Louisiana’s grandmother drives an old clunker much too fast and has Louisiana steal cans of tuna fish. The elderly ladies are unpredictable.
Fourth graders and above will get a kick out of their antics and get a chance to practice literacy skills. They will also learn a lot about friendship and about the value of looking at things from the other person’s perspective.
- Title: Raymie Nightingale
- Author: Kate DiCamillo
- Published: Candlewick Press, 2016
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
- Grade Level: 4 to 7
- Genre: Fiction, Friendship, Humor
- ISBN: 978-0-7636-8117-3