Title: Ginger Pye
Author: Eleanor Estes
Published: 2000 Sandpiper (orig.1951)
Read For: School--Aloud to my kiddos
My Rating: 3 stars
Ginger Pye won the Newbery Award in 1952. It looked like such a happy puppy dog story that I was looking forward to reading it aloud to my kiddos. Unfortunately, we were all disappointed to find that this book, while using Ginger as an anchor, is more about the rambling thoughts and activities of two well-adjusted siblings. Jerry and Rachel get along wonderfully, and are proud of the fact that their mother is the youngest mother in town, and their father is a famous "bird man". Much of the book is taken up by the search for Ginger after she is stolen, and is filled with happy little detours exploring the town and explaining their thoughts.
The book is not without its charms. It was nice to read a book filled with happy people, however unrealistic that may be. There are many things in the book that recall a different era in small town American life, although many of those things are more confusing than they are endearing. Better choices on that regard are, in my opinion, Mr. Popper's Penguins (Newbery Honor 1939), Miracles on Maple Hill (Newbery 1957), Gone Away Lake (Newbery Honor 1957) and Thimble Summer (Newbery 1939).
If you approach Ginger Pye as an introduction to the Pye family and the bygone times and town they lived in rather than a cute puppy story, I'm guessing you'll have a better chance at liking it. Don't be in a hurry to get through, because it really takes its time. My kids thought it boring, although I wouldn't be surprised if--at some point--they remember it fondly.
(cross-posted at Fingers & Prose)