________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 13 . . . .March 3, 2006


Casey Little Yo-Yo Queen. (Orca Young Readers).

Nancy Belgue. Illustrated by Samia Drisdelle.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2005.
121 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 1-55143-357-5.

Subject Headings:
Yo-yos—Juvenile fiction.
Determination (Personailty trait)—Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Deborah Mervold and Kessa Gerein.

*** /4



“You won’t believe what I just saw!” Casey Little whispered to her best friend, Mickey.

Mickey slouched down under his spy hat and went on dusting his kitchen table for fingerprints. He grunted.

“Stop fooling around, Mickey,” Casey said, nudging him with her elbow. “Come here and look!”

“I’m not fooling around,” Mickey said, looking up from his notepad. “I’m finding out who ate the last donut.” He pointed to the plate, sprinkled with chocolate crumbs and fingerprint dust. “I was saving that donut for lunch!”

“Forget the donut. The new neighbor just had a pinball machine delivered to her house.”

“Sure. And I just did a Nollie 360 kick flip.”

“No, really. The delivery men are just leaving.”


As the excerpt indicates, this is the beginning of the deliveries to Mrs. Lombardi’s house across the street from Casey Little. Mrs. Lombardi knows a lot about her neighbors. She knows Casey wants to buy a horse, Lightning, but needs to come up with $1500 by Saturday. She knows that Casey’s best friend, Mickey, loves donuts. She knows that Casey was a yo-yo champ but froze on stage and no longer performs.

     Mrs. Lombardi is sponsoring a carnival as a welcome to the neighborhood. As part of the celebration, there will be a yo-yo competition with a first prize of $1500. Casey finds her yo-yo but is undecided about signing up. When Mrs. Lombardi asks Casey’s help with registrations, Casey decides it is worth a try. Deirdre and her father, Geronimo, have purchased Lightning. Deirdre, who is stuck-up, plans to take the horse to Montreal. Casey thinks Mrs. Lombardi might be magic because she seems to know things. In doing research with Mickey at the library, Casey finds a spell which will take away stage fright. Events don’t go as planned, but things end up as they should.

     The characters are realistic within situations that are plausible. The magic is uncertain with other possible explanations. We liked the wink between Mrs. Lombardi and Casey - “a just between you and me wink” - and then the same wink at the ending when Sybil comes to live in Mrs. Lombardi’s house. The reader is given the idea that events are developing as they should. The magic is a mystery which becomes one of the plot lines. The other plots evolve around Casey’s love of Lightning and her desire to purchase the horse, her stage fright, her ability to win the yo-yo competition and her animosity with Deirdre.

     There are several black and white drawings which add to the enjoyment of the text. The print is large and easy to read, making this a good choice for the intended readers. Language is effective and appropriate. The content is interesting yet easy to read and follow. We would recommend this book to other students. particularly those who like horse stories or mysteries. It would be a good choice for public, school and personal libraries.


Deborah Mervold is a retired teacher-librarian, educator and Resource Based Learning Consultant in Shellbrook, SK. Kessa Gerein is a Grade 3 student in Saskatoon, SK.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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