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Monday, January 25
Written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon
My rating: ★★★★
Publisher: Dial Books
Date of publication: October 9, 2014
Age: Grades 1 - 3
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Themes: imagination, family relationships, imaginary friends, humor
As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention. More than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for.
This book is all over the place. Told from Dory's perspective, the reader is placed in a world half-real and half-imagined. Dory faces the real issues of dealing with the teasing of her siblings and the imagined issues of surviving the exploits of a nefarious witch named Mrs. Gobble Gracker. It's basically summed up in this (awesome) part from the book: "I tiptoe downstairs and into the dark living room. Oh! Where did I put Cherry? I gave her to Mrs. Gobble Gracker, of course. But what did I REALLY ACTUALLY do with her?" It ends up being a hilarious, true-to-life portrait of childhood.
The pacing is good (I thought Dory's pretending to be a dog dragged on for a bit--no wonder her family all lost their patience with it) and there's a good mix of vocabulary. It's told from a child, so proper grammar is not a priority, but it's much better than, say, Junie B. Jones (ugh). The child-like pencil-drawn illustrations with random speech bubbles further contribute to its kid-appeal.
Overall? Yes, it's genius as many people have said. I said four stars, though, because it could get a little too crazy. In my humble opinion. Maybe I need to spend more time with crazy children.
Better than Junie B. Jones books, a good readalike for imaginative books like Princess in Black or Heidi Heckelbeck. The quick wit and humor is similar to Ballet Cat. But it really does stand out in its own way.
Find it at your library or on Amazon