Keena Ford and the Field Trip Mix-Up

by Melissa Thomson (2009)

Keena is back in her second adventure. This time she gets to go to Washington D.C.

She’s still the same Keena. Still in 2nd grade. Still curious and well-meaning. She still stands up for herself. And she still somehow manages to find herself in a little spot of trouble.

Keena Ford and the Field Trip Mix-Up also serves as a civics lesson that operates at two distinct levels. In school, Keena is running for the student council. (“They are the bosses of school activities.”) She plans and assists, schemes and competes with her peers, designing campaign slogans and posters – and delivering campaign speeches.

At the same time, Keena and her class travel to the U.S. Capitol to meet with their Congressman – Representative Palmer Thomas. There they learn a little about how the U.S. Federal government is organized and how it works. (“They make rules for our whole country to follow.”) And she learns a lot about the U.S. Capitol. (Which Founding Father is standing on another Founders’ foot in a famous painting in the Capitol?)

Of course, there’s plenty of Keena stuff along the way. She learns all about thesauruses and synonyms. She also has a running squabble with her classmate Tiffany about who gets to be in which place in line (do you remember jockeying to be the caboose in 2nd grade?) – which ends up causing the ‘mix-up’ at the Capitol.

It is this blend of the prosaic with constructive, the ornery with the grand, that makes Keena the perfect guide to life and lessons in 2nd grade. Yes, we all want to learn synonyms for quiet (still, restful, silent) and remember how many Congresspeople are in the House of Representatives (435). But we also want to keep Tiffany Harris from cutting in line!

Melissa Thomson helps Keena navigate these waters with brisk humor and ever-present empathy. You root for Keena even when she over-reaches. And you know your readers will end up learning the same valuable life lessons she does.

[Note: If you can’t get enough Keena, check out Keena Ford and the Secret Journal Mix-Up.]