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Cody and the Heart of a Champion by Tricia…
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Cody and the Heart of a Champion

by Tricia Springstubb

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Too many things are changing in 4th grader Cody’s life. She is not sure if Perl is still her friend so she agrees to join the soccer team just to be with her, even though she doesn’t know how to play soccer. If that isn’t bad enough, she finds out that her very best friend and neighbor has been keeping a secret from her.
This title will appeal to readers in grades 2nd through 4th who are already fans of the Cody series, as well as, fans of realistic stories about sports and friendship. The author develops characters that are easily relatable and a plot line that will keep the reader engaged. The illustrations further enhance the young reader’s comprehension. ( )
  SWONclear | Jun 19, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Pretty bland chapter book. Not bad, but not good or memorable.

Cody is obsessed with plants and her red jacket which she has grown too small for. She also adores ants in the ground, whom she fed last year and considers her pets. Every day she feeds them until they come out of the ground at the end of the book. I assume the ants and getting a new jacket are supposed to be a metaphor for new life, Cody is also an elementary school girl dealing with new beginnings. Her friend Pearl is into soccer and her other friend Spencer is building a mysterious museum under a neighbor's steps. The friendship issues become a crux of the story.

The issues with this book seem to be the conflict between Cody and her 2 friends Pearl and Spencer. Pearl is newly interested in soccer. She wants to play and is obsessed with Madison. Madison is hard core into soccer and wants to win. Cody doesn't understand or care about soccer, so she joins the team to be near her friend Pearl. Of course, Cody ends up not only making the team, even though she knows nothing about soccer and has never played, but basically becomes the best player. Unbelievable. Never played, yet the best. Nothing to overcome. Doesn't care, but is amazing. And of course, Madison, the girl who is good and actually cares, is considered the evil villain because she takes soccer seriously. It's not a game to her. A lot of people want to do their best and I just found it difficult to empathize with Cody who didn't care about soccer but was still amazing, complaining about someone who worked hard and wanted to win. And of course the "evil" Madison got ill and was not able to play in the big game. Her competitive nature ruined everything for her. In fact, her competitive nature made her sick Horrible message. Don't care - you win. Try, work hard, and be passionate about something - horrible things happen to you.

A friend moving away is a common experience many kids face. This was the perfect opportunity to be authentic. When a friend moves away, it often isn't just a few blocks away. Usually it's a decent amount away where the friend changes school and/or is too difficult to keep up a friendship. Of course that story was not told. Spencer, Cody's friend, starts acting odd. He starts making a museum under the stars of the neighbor's house of things he values. What turns out being wrong with him is his mom is having a baby and they are moving. Except it turns out they are only moving a few blocks away, so what could have been an actual life lesson and be an authentic moment is ruined.

The last subplot concerned Cody's brother. Wyatt. He has a new girlfriend. Because of that new girlfriend, he starts wearing collared shirts and greasing back his hair, ditching his usual t-shirts and natural hair. Throughout the book, Wyatt is miserable. He doesn't act like himself. He doesn't wear what he wants to wear. He doesn't do what he wants to do. All this is because of his 'overbearing' girlfriend. By the end of the story however he goes back to his tees and no gel hair. His girlfriend is loving his natural look. This was an odd subplot. Logically the girlfriend would have seen him before. She then radically changed him, apparently because she doesn't like the look. But when he turns back, she loves the look too. So, what was the whole point then? Made the character inconsistent. Seemed like she never would have wanted the change in the first place or would have been mad after him changing back. And if she was so happy he was back "to himself", why wouldn't she have just said she didn't like the changes and he should go back? Made no sense.

What I found particularly troubling about this book is the messages. As far as I can tell the messages seem to be:
1. Nothing bad ever happens. Even when you think something bad is happening, you just don't have all the information.
2. You are good at everything no matter how little effort you put in. Hard work and caring about things is bad. Don't care. Just show up and you will be amazing.
3. Be yourself no matter what. You should never improve. You are never doing anything wrong. People should never try to help you improve

The most interesting part of the book is the description of the plants in nature that permeate the book about every 10 pages. Other than that, it's an average book at best. ( )
  mandymarie20 | Apr 11, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Cody and the Heart Of a Champion was really good. My son and I read it together and both of us enjoyed it. Thank you for the opportunity to read it and we would recommend this book to others. ( )
  starlightnightweaver | Feb 15, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a free advanced copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This is the story of Cody who is a pre-teen dealing with typical pre-teen friendship/growing up problems--her best friend is moving, there’s a bossy girl on her soccer team, will Cody even make the soccer team and her other close friend is idolizing the bossy girl. This book doesn’t have a lot of substance, but I don’t think it’s meant to be anything other than a short chapter book for elementary students to read and maybe relate to some of the friendship “drama” Cody is facing. If you take it for that, then it’s a cute story with a good message. Cody learns to be herself above all else, be a good teammate and try her best. I have not read the other books in this series, but I don’t think you have to understand and enjoy the story. The only criticism I have is that when Cody or her friends write to each other or we see something they wrote, there are misspelled words. I understand the author was trying to be realistic and spell how a typical 10-year-old might, but the correct spelling is never given and from a teacher’s point of view it doesn’t add to the story and might confuse some kids. ( )
  nicholsm | Feb 8, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Cody and the Heart of a Champion-what a delightful read! Can't wait to share this with my granddaughter! I didn't get to see final art images but love the concept of this book. Soccer, friendship, and realistic characters make this book an excellent choice for young readers. A step up from early readers, the chapters are a length that works for those ready for the next step. Challenges of friendship such as peer pressure, fitting in, and learning what it means to be a friend make this a read that kids will relate to. The idea that we all can't be soccer stars or the perfect person are quietly portrayed reminding us all what really makes a champion. A definite winner! ( )
  Janismin | Feb 1, 2018 |
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In this life, some things never change:
3 x 3 (always 9)
Ants (always fascinating)
Sauerkraut (always disgusting)
But other things do.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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