Friday, July 31, 2015

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

I'm in two minds about this book. It's got quite a lot of enthusiastic praise, and I did enjoy reading it, but I'm not sure about the audience for it.

Dory is the baby of her family and everyone calls her Rascal. Her older siblings are so annoyed by her imagination, invisible friend, weird habits, and monsters that they make up a monster to try and scare her back. Unfortunately, the creation of Mrs. Gobble Gracker doesn't go quite like they expect and soon Dory is in a complete fantasmagory, blending her imagination and real life, pretending to be a dog, and trying to escape the wicked Mrs. Gobble Gracker.

The book is decorated throughout with pen sketches. They're a great complement to the story, showing the tousled, enthusiastic Dory and her exasperated older siblings as well as Dory's fantasy world.

This is completely realistic; I remember playing make believe games like this myself, listening to my younger siblings play them, and I occasionally see kids playing them at the library as well (not too often though - I don't know if it's the death of imagination or that I just don't see the kids that often). But I'm not sure who the audience for this would be. The younger elementary kids making up imaginative kids? I and my siblings were very imaginative, but I can't remember any of them actually wanting to read a book about imagination. Older siblings? But this has a very young feel and is narrated by Dory herself.

Verdict: I think the best audience for this is probably younger kids who are strong readers. It might make a fun read aloud as well, but it could be scary for an imaginative child who doesn't understand that Mrs. Gobble Gracker isn't real. Although I can't quite see an audience for this myself though, I trust those who have given it strong reviews so it's one I'd take a chance on.

ISBN: 9780803740884; Published 2014 by Dial/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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