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Being Bee
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Gr 4-6-At first, Jazzi is just Bee's widowed father's girlfriend. Then she slowly begins taking over their lives: moving in, cleaning, cooking, and redecorating. The girl knows she should like her father's partner and sometimes she almost does. Then she remembers what the woman represents and drags her feet. Feeling that she has no one to talk to, Bee pours her heart out in letters to her guinea pigs. Savvy readers will guess that her pets' responses come from Jazzi, who is trying to understand and reach out, and not from Bee's father as the youngster thinks. The book deals realistically with a parent dating and the possibility of a stepparent. Bee's emotions and perspectives are honest and clearly presented, and her relationship with Jazzi changes over time in a natural way. The story also deals with acceptance of the mentally challenged. Jazzi has a brother who lives in an assisted-living facility and she keeps it a secret, certain that no one else will understand or accept him. Just by being herself, Bee helps draw the man into the family. She is a likable, believable character dealing with issues that many readers will relate to.-Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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