Pitch Partners

Penguin Workshop. (Eat Bugs: Bk. Bk. 2). Nov. 2021. 240p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593096192.
Gr 3-7–Keeping clandestine crickets in an attic, cooking nachos with a grouchy grandpa, and devising unique advertising strategies are among the challenges sixth-graders Hallie and Jaye tackle in pursuit of winning their local kid business pitch competition. This is the second entry in a new series based on a real insect-based snack pitched on Shark Tank; Alexander has transformed the story into an engaging middle grade read. In true middle school fashion, the tweens also have their own social challenges and family dynamics to balance with their quest for success. The story splits narration duties between creative-minded Hallie and process-focused Jaye to cover every aspect of their pitch preparation and personal lives. Young readers might not identify with building a business, but the story comes down to basic problem-solving—a skill worth honing at all ages, in all venues, especially when those venues involve mouth-watering savory snacks. Hallie is cued as white and Jaye is Chinese American.
VERDICT An excellent addition to the “Eat Bugs” series that also works as a standalone. With an emphasis on taking challenges as they come and finding fun solutions, this novel is written at a middle grade level but has plenty of twists and turns to engage many levels of readers.

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