Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ever want to know what a six-year-old thinks? Read the Dory books by Abby Hanlon. Dory, aka Rascal, lives in a world of imaginary friends and monsters.
There is Mr. Nuggy, a fairy godmother who communicates by banana, and there is Mary, a cross between a Sendak wild thing and a puppy, (or is it a bear cub?) There are  monsters: a sock monster, closet monster, toilet monster, and more. None of them are the least bit frightening, except for Mrs. Gobble Gracker, who does such a terrible things like eat popcorn with your family when you’re in a "time out."
The narrative is easy to follow, aided by comic artwork and predictive actions.
For under six year olds, it might help for the adult reader to explain how the cartoon artwork adds to the story. Older kids won’t have any trouble, though.
This is a great pick for kids who love the Ramona Books, Ivy and Bean, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I have a new category of books: COZY YA. There’s no mayhem or murder. My first pick is The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Newberry Award winner). It’s the 1900’s in America. Joan runs away from the farm and her brutish Father. Through luck and pluck, Joan gains a position as a hired girl in a wealthy Jewish family in Baltimore. It’s a book of firsts; the wonders of city living, the life of a Reformed Jewish family, and love. Those are the bones of the story, but there is so much more to it. Reading The Hired Girl took me back to the first time I was swept away by a book. Think of the Little House Books, or The Little Princess or Enchanted Garden. That’s what The Hired Girl did for me.