Friday, April 24, 2015

Ms. Rapscott's Girls by Elisa Primavera

The description of this sounded very alluring to me - an eccentric lady takes in daughters of Very Busy Parents and they go on wild adventures. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that the book lived up to the hype, although a lot of other people have liked it, so it may just be me.

Five girls are mailed to Ms. Rapscott's school (their parents are far too busy to actually take them there) and arrive in the middle of an exciting storm. Unfortunately, one girl, Dahlia, gets lost along the way so the girls' first lesson is going to be finding Dahlia. Under Ms. Rapscott's tutelage they get Lost on Purpose and while they may not learn conventional lessons, they do find out things about themselves they never knew, as well as important life lessons.

I did like the humorous illustrations, some full-page, showing the girls' various adventures. The characterizations of the girls were funny and interesting, differentiating them without turning them into stereotypes. It was really enjoyable to watch how the girls grew into themselves and changed throughout their wacky adventures. I think, ultimately, I wanted a more clear-cut plot than this offered. The girls go on "adventures" that are really just wandering around, things magically change or they find themselves back at home, and then it's on to another lesson or adventure. I wanted a more linear story and would probably be a very bad pupil at Ms. Rapscott's school.

Verdict: Will kids like this? Well, those looking for a funny adventure story about kids at school will probably be disappointed. Those who like more kooky, nonsensical-type stories, possibly fans of Series of Unfortunate Events, will probably really enjoy this. The art is attractive and kids are often not as wedded to the idea of linear story as adults are (or this adult anyways). So, it wasn't for me and I'd find it difficult to booktalk or recommend it, but if you have kids who are fans of the particular type of nonsense British authors often seem to produce, this will probably be a hit (and no, the author is not British but this felt very, very British to me).

ISBN: 9780803738225; Published 2015 by Dial/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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