Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness

Tricia Springstubb
Illustrator:  Eliza Wheeler 
Fiction
For ages 8 to 10
Candlewick Press, 2015   ISBN: 978-0763658571

As far as Cody is concerned life is full of beautiful things; things like marshmallows and turtles “with their cute thumb-shaped heads.” Perhaps the most beautiful thing of all is the first day of summer vacation, which is why today she is thrilled beyond measure because her summer vacation has kicked off, and she is ready for her summer of fun to begin.

The problem is that Cody has no one to have fun with. Her mother has gone to work, and her big brother Wyatt is busy doing one of the things that he has a talent for doing: sleeping. When Cody tries to wake Wyatt up, he makes it clear that he is not interested in spending time with his little sister right now, which makes her feel rather sad.

Cody is out on the front steps looking at one of her brother’s books when she hears someone calling out. A boy comes walking by and he asks her if she has seen a striped cat. Apparently the cat, MewMew, has disappeared, and the boy, Spencer, is really worried about her. MewMew is his grandmother’s cat and she is old and deaf. Cody offers to help search for the cat and in the end she not only finds her, but she rescues the old feline from what could have been a very unfortunate fall.

Though Spencer is not one for being sociable, he and Cody (and MewMew) start to become friends. Spencer is missing his parents terribly and he is rather hurt that they went on a vacation without him – and then extended their vacation. Understanding that Spencer is having a hard time, Cody does her best to cheer him up. She ends up offering to hypnotize MewMew so that the cat won’t run away and worry Spencer again. With care the two children hypnotize MewMew and everything seems to be going well in the world.

Then Cody’s dad arranges for a girl called Payton to watch Cody while Mom is at work and Wyatt is at doctor camp. Wyatt is appalled when he hears this news. He is in love with Payton in a big way and cannot imagine anything worse than having her babysit his little sister. Cody is told in no uncertain terms not to embarrass him, which she thinks is a rather hurtful thing to say. She would never do anything to hurt Wyatt. In fact, she decides that she is going to try to help him. Unfortunately, Cody’s plan is an epic failure.

One would think that this failed attempt of doing the wrong thing for the right reason would discourage Cody from meddling in other people’s affairs again, but it doesn’t. She likes helping people, just like she helped MewMew and Spencer. The problem is that sometimes her efforts don’t work out as planned, and sometimes they completely backfire.

Readers are going to be charmed by Cody, a little girl who has a sunny disposition, who loves animals (including ants and other insects), and who always means well. If only her good intentions did not have the habit of turning into disasters.

 

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