Cody and the Fountain of Happiness
Author: Tricia Springstubb
Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler
Published April 14th, 2015 by Candlewick Press
Goodreads Summary: For whimsical Cody, many things are beautiful, especially ants who say hello by rubbing feelers. But nothing is as beautiful as the first day of summer vacation, and Cody doesn’t want to waste one minute of it. Meanwhile, teenage brother Wyatt is moping over a girl, Mom is stressed about her new job as Head of Shoes, Dad is off hauling chairs in his long-distance truck, and even camp has been closed for the summer. What to do? Just when all seems lost, Cody bumps into a neighborhood boy named Spencer who is looking for a runaway cat. With a new friend and a soon-to-be-found cat, Cody is on her way to the fountain of happiness.
Kellee’s Review: Cody is one of those spunky, smart, caring, sweet young ladies who anyone would want as a friend. I loved being part of Cody’s summer which was full of a quirky set of characters and an unexpected misadventure. I have been talking to Carrie Gelson about my book gap when it comes to early chapter books, so I am so glad that I found Cody because I think she is going to be loved as much as Marty McGuire, Lulu, Ivy & Bean, and many other loved early chapter book characters.
Ricki’s Review: Kellee’s review made me laugh. I agree that my knowledge of early chapter books is my biggest weakness, so I loved reading this odd-in-a-good-way tale! The illustrations are great–as a young reader, I hated when my chapter books didn’t have pictures, so this will be very appealing to kids. I loved how the author incorporated Spanish words for beginning readers. Also, the quirky bond between Cody and her brother, Wyatt, made me giggle at several points. Wyatt reminded me of my older brother, and I think readers will find similar qualities in their siblings. I will absolutely be recommending this book to younger readers.
Teachers’ Tools of Navigation: Lots of things go into Cody’s fountain of happiness: her family, Mew Mew, Spencer, GG, and her ants; however, each of us have our own fountain of happiness. Have students make their own fountain of happiness list, and then assemble the things they included into a list poem.
(Idea from Tricia Springstubb)
Additionally, Tricia Springstubb’s writing is exceptional and would definitely serve as a mentor text for voice and descriptive writing. The lyrical way that Tricia Springstubb describes Cody’s feelings and surroundings is beautiful and is a wonderful example for student writers and readers.
Discussion Questions: What makes up your fountain of happiness?; Cody uses onomatopoeias to describe things such as her mother’s walking “click-click-click” and her coffee drinking “gulp-gulp-gulp.” What onomatopoeias do you hear around you on a daily basis?
We Flagged: “Late that night, Cody woke up. Her Dad radar was beeping. She raced to the kitchen. Dad sat at the table with Mom. Jumping into his arms, Cody breathed in great gulps of dad smell, a mix of diesel oil, coffee, and eggs over easy.”
Read This If You Loved: Marty McGuire by Kate Messner, Eleanor books by Julie Sternberg, Lulu books by Judith Viorst, Babymouse by Jenni L. Holm; Annika Riz, Math Whiz by Claudia Mills