Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ginger Pye

Ginger Pye (Young Classic)Title: Ginger Pye
Author: Eleanor Estes
Pages: 320
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)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's Been So Long Since Anyone's Posted!

Where is everyone? People write and say they're excited about contributing, but then they don't post. :(

I've been reading and writing a lot for a job, and haven't had much time for reading for pleasure. The job wraps up in October, though, so I will definitely finish Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Dicey's Song and the eight or so other Newbery winners I still haven't read yet at some point after that.

Meanwhile, here's an issue that has come up frequently here (and specifically mentions Dr. Dolittle):

What to Do About Classic Children's Books That Are Racist

And if you're interested in getting a jump on the Newbery winner for 2010 (my vote is already cast for A Conspiracy of Kings, whether it's the best choice or not. I love that series so much I can't be an impartial judge), the Heavy Medal blog is up and running again.

Boy, it is really annoying that when you Google "Heavy Medal Newbery" they automatically switch your search term to "heavy metal Newbery".