Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid by Dina Cherise Tate

Lizzie and McKenzie are two Grade 3 girls who are having trouble with bullies in their class. They are recruited by Princes Lovina to find the Seven Crystals of Sisterhood and save everyone from the Same Glam Goddess, who wants to make everyone the same. In order to accomplish this – and to finish a Social Studies project – the pair is transported to Madrid, to discover the wonders of that city.

Having taught Grade 3, I have to commend this author for taking on an important subject. At that age little girls are experimenting with social manipulation, and some of the results are not pretty.

So there is a lot of talk about sisterhood, bravery, and true friendship. But there is also a lot of pretty jewelry and gadgetry, and everything comes in multi colours. One can’t help wondering whether, like the old “girl power” fad, the story hasn’t catered to its audience so strongly as to be sustaining a set of stereotypes all its own.

But my chief concern is the vocabulary level. Can you imagine Grade 3 girls reading this?

“The rooms in the palace are decorated with paintings, furniture, embellished mirrors, sculptures, and more. Luxuriant gardens draped in rich, dazzling-green grass interwoven with the crimson of wild azaleas is where they find Plaza Oriente, directly next to the Royal Palace.”

Part story, part sermon, part travelogue with a quick Spanish lesson thrown in, this is a book with a laudable intention that needs extensive testing with readers of the target audience. And editing.

3 Stars (3 / 5)

About the Author: Gordon Long

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