sweet read: the sisters club: rule of three by megan mcdonald

“Knife, fork, spoon.

Rock, paper, scissors.

Lights, camera, action.

Everywhere you look, things come in threes. It’s the Rule of Three.”

And I love love love the three Reel sisters: Alex (13), Stevie (11), and Joey (9).

As a rule, I read anything and everything by Megan McDonald. As a longtime Judy Moody and Stink fan, I was pleased as punch when I came across The Sisters Club: Rule of Three (Candlewick, 2009).

♥ Megan McDonald + cupcakes = recipe for perfection. ♥

In this second title of the wildly popular series, Alex and Stevie fiercely compete against each other for the lead in the school musical, “Once Upon a Mattress.” Trying out is a big step for middle sister Stevie, a peace-loving, behind-the-scenes type who’s always let Alex (Actor-with-a-Capital-A Drama Queen) bask in the spotlight. But singing is Stevie’s thing, so why shouldn’t she, just this once, take her turn at center stage?

Jealousy, betrayal, and sibling clashes abound in this tightly written, fast paced, thoroughly satisfying read. To add to the non-stop fun, smart-as-a-whip Joey, with her clever, mischievous machinations, makes sure there is never a dull moment in this roller coaster ride of sisterly tug-of-war.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana are the first cupcakes Stevie makes in the book.
(photo by honey drizzle)


 Fully realized characters with distinctive voices who reveal themselves through suitable narrative devices: Stevie is the main narrator in standard chapters, Alex contributes scripts and stage directions, Joey creates illustrated journal entries and lists. This combination makes for fun, varied, and always engaging reading.

Tie-in to Little Women. Joey is so hooked on it she wants to be called, “Jo,” is growing her hair so she can donate it, and she even eschews Christmas presents. The fact that Stevie reads chapters aloud to Joey is heartwarming evidence of their special bond.

Preponderance of cupcakes! Stevie is the baker in the family — for her, baking is an escape, an emotional outlet. Time and again, whenever frustration or disappointment builds up, Stevie heads to the kitchen, aptly naming her cupcakes according to her mood: Don’t-Bug-Me-I’m-Baking Cupcakes, I-Hate-My-Sister Cupcakes.

Reel family quirkiness: They’re a family of actors who live in Acton, Oregon, next to a theatre. Mom has a cable cooking show even though she can’t cook (that’s where her acting comes in). Dad is “Mr. Cheapsteak,” who builds stage sets and makes peanut butter noodles for dinner. Whenever anyone has something important to say, he/she must wear the King Lear jester hat. And then there’s Sock Monkey.

Interesting facts sprinkled throughout. McDonald also did this in her Judy Moody books — readers learn cool stuff without ever feeling someone is trying to “teach” them something. Solid, liquid, gas. Crust, mantle, core. Beginning, middle, end.

Good insight into theatrics: auditions, callbacks, stage fright, rehearsals, costumes, etc.

♥ Joey’s journal entries — Pamela Consolazio’s doodles and scribblings are way cool, typical 9-year-old, a constant riot.

♥ Cool coincidence: There’s something cosmically delicious about the combination of Oregon, cupcakes, bake-offs and likeable characters. Like Isabel in Lisa Schroeder’s, It’s Raining Cupcakes, Stevie also wants to enter a “cake-off,” and tries to create The World’s Most Divine Cupcake. Both girls come up with imaginative drool-inducing concoctions that reflect their personalities.

Now, I’m definitely in the mood for a girlie cupcake. Near the end of the book, Stevie makes a batch of what she calls Pink Velvet cupcakes — vanilla raspberry swirl batter with fluffy pink frosting.

by ShiShi Cupcakes & Miniature Desserts.

These would also do it for me:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes by Whisperawish.

Pink Butterfly Cupcakes (vanillla with rose buttercream) by Twirlz Cupcakes.

Pink Velvet Valentine Cupcakes by prettysweetcupcakes.

Above all, The Sisters Club: Rule of Three, made me wish I had grown up with sisters (my mom had four). Reading this book was a vicarious pleasure through and through. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.

And that’s the truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth. ☺

published by Candlewick Press, 2009
Middle grade fiction for ages 7-11, 240 pp.
Source of book: Library copy.


Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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