What can I say about Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair? First, it is by Alice Kuipers. Second, it is illustrated by Diana Toledano. Third, it is the second book in the Polly Diamond series. Fourth, I wish I had read book one first. Fifth, it tries to be fun by making up words (yelly, fabuloso, splooshy) and educational (using/describing words like palindrome, alliteration, adjectives and similes). Finally, it falls flat with Polly’s bossy attitude at times.
By flat I mean nothing is natural. Polly tosses words around in a forced manner with her explaining of things. By flat, there are holes in the story that would have (hopefully) been filled in by the first book. And if her magic book, Spell, is a big secret how come it seems like someone knows about it? These things make it a not-stand-alone story making it an awkward read. Polly’s bossiness comes out when, instead of it just happening in a natural manner she tells us in list fashion “spell” is a cool word as it has three meanings (though granted I have not had too many opportunities to just casually have a conversation about word meanings).
When Polly uses Spell to makes the school fair a bit more fun, why is everyone not freaked out when they start turning into characters from their favorite books? Why has no one wondered why a carrousel has Alice in Wonderland characters that disappear so only their smile is left (Cheshire cat) and start to walk about among the participants of the school book fair (The Tweedles).
Perhaps (and this is most likely the case), this entire book was just Polly’s imagination and she is pretending all this, and nothing was real. Or it is really is happening but having read book one would have helped in the understanding of the plot.
A small bonus at the end is the list of books Polly mentioned in the book. It lets you know which the real titles were and which two are not.
All of this aside, the right reader could have some fun with this series. There is potential for the teacher to use this book to reinforce some lessons from class. And if you are looking for books with diverse characters, Polly is biracial.