Surely Surely Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Number of pages: 160
Publishing: August 9th, 2022
Source: Sparkpoint Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Opening Line: "Marisol Rainey keeps a list in her head. She calls it her List of Favorites."
I really loved the first book in this series, Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey it's an adorable, illustrated chapter book. Marisol is such a lovely young girl, she's kind, empathetic, anxious, and at times quiet and reflective. She reminds me a lot of Matilda and Harriet and I just adore her. I was super excited to get my hands on the follow-up, Surely Surely Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada.
In the latest book, Marisol is worried because her gym teacher just announced that the next unit they're starting is kickball. She'd love to ask her dad for help or kickball advice, but because of his job on an oil rig he's gone a lot, he does call home weekly, but it's not the same as having him home so he can teach her what to do. Marisol could ask her older brother, Oz, who is really good at sports but that might be difficult and embarrassing too. Both Marisol and her best friend Jada despise gym class, and starting kickball makes them both anxious, on that one thing they both can agree. It's not because of the teacher, who is supportive and encouraging, it's having to play sports. Just the thought of having to kick the ball makes Marisol and Jada both worry. What if they fall flat on their face, or make a mistake? Plus, she doesn't want to embarrass herself in front of the whole class. Then Evie starts to bully Marisol, telling her how good she is at kickball and how Marisol is never going to be able to match her skills, which causes her even more anxiety. The only positive is that she gets paired up with Felix in gym class and he's super nice. Felix even starts telling her about his ability to talk to animals, which distracts her from thinking about and worrying about kickball. Eventually, Marisol does ask Oz for help for her, and Jada and he teaches them how to kick and catch the ball, which alleviates many of their fears.
Surely Surely Marisol Rainey can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend both of these books. Marisol is such a treasure, and her stories would be perfect for an elementary age reader, who will find her easily relatable and will just love how she works so hard to overcome her fears and anxiety. The use of the brain train analogy is especially done well in explaining Marisol's worries. Although some of the illustrations in my ARC weren't complete, I loved the gentle lines of the ones I saw and felt they complement the story so well. I really hope Erin Entrada Kelly will write more Marisol Rainey stories and I really enjoyed that she not only wrote these books but illustrated them as well.