Gertie’s Leap to Greatness
by Kate Beasley, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Gertie is on a mission to be the greatest. How else will she keep her mother, who she has never even met despite her living in the same town, from moving away? Unfortunately, her quest to greatness is threatened by the arrival of a new, spotlight-stealing student. Everyone loves Mary Sue. She’s smart, pretty, and her father’s a movie director. Will Gertie be able to outshine the popular Mary Sue and become the greatest fifth grader?
As someone who grew up loving Beverly Cleary’s Ramona stories, I’m a huge fan of spunky young characters like Gertie. I found myself reminiscing about my fifth grade year, when I dealt with some of the same friendship issues and school frustrations that Gertie struggles with throughout the story. Many of the situations our determined main character faces, including troubles with family and friends, are ones that a lot of readers her age will likely be able to relate to.
Gertie’s Leap to Greatness is the debut book of author Kate Beasley. Occasional black and white illustrations by Jillian Tamaki add to the appeal by bringing the entertaining, yet often headstrong, young Gertie to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and hope that Kate Beasley continues to write more about Gertie in the near future.