A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The More the Merrier is the second book in the Cinderella Smith series (it would be better read after the first book, but it's able to stand alone). Though it isn't heavy handed or overly serious, the story takes a good look at third grade cliques and how they affect those who get left out. When does being unique start to look weird? What's the difference? What strategies work best when other kids are mean to you? Cinderella deals with it all. Kids will relate, and parents will appreciate the opportunity to talk about ways to deal with friendship issues that arise when some kids start feeling "popular" while others don't. As the title indicates, the lesson learned is that including people works out better than excluding them.
What's the story?
Third grader Cinderella Smith is smart, spunky, and unique. When Rosemary, once her best friend, suddenly starts acting mean to her, Cinderella is hurt -- and a bit taken aback. Luckily, she's otherwise surrounded by supportive people, including her parents, aunt, teacher, and other classmates, especially Erin. But it only takes the few bad apples to spoil the whole third grade experience, and it takes Cinderella a while to figure out how to deal with the situation. As she tries to teach Rosemary a lesson, she finds out just how hard it is to give someone the silent treatment -- and how heartfelt talks don't always work as you hope they will. Things look a little bleak until a spelling bee, group work on a classroom party, and the enthusiastic spirit of Cinderella Smith make things better, showing that \"The More the Merrier\" is the best slogan after all.
Is it any good?
In this second installment of the Cinderella Smith series, Stephanie Barden again manages to serve up several great lessons in a story that's a lot of fun to read. Kids will love the bouncy, fun-loving Cinderella Smith and her friends and appreciate her serious side and unique take on life. They'll understand the hurt she feels when an ex-best friend says mean things to her in class and the things she thinks of to remedy the situation. Readers who've read both books will feel even more a part of Cinderella's life and will certainly look forward to reading about what happens to her next.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to be "weird." What made Rosemary think that Cinderella and her aunt were weird? Why is it such a big deal to be different? Can you think of other stories you've read that have characters who dared to be unique? How did that work out for them?
Talk about cliques -- why they happen and what to do about them. How does Cinderella react to the Rosemarys forming their special, invitation-only clubs, and how does the "More the Merrier" party change things?
Cinderella creates new words, uses them with her friends, and sends them off to "the dictionary people." Some of the words catch on, some don't. Families, especially members of different ages, can talk about ways that language has changed. How does that happen, and how do new words end up in the dictionary?
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