Friday, March 30, 2018

Dory Fantasmagory: Dory, Dory Black Sheep


 
         Adorable and strange, imaginative and irresistible, Dory Fantasmagory has grabbed my heart and turned it into a smile. We've known unusual girls in Youth fiction before; Junie B. Jones with her comical misuse of the English language, Pippi Longstocking, with her enthusiastic disregard for rules, and Ramona Quimby, with her sibling issues. But Dory is a notch above. Abby Hanlon creates Dory as an endearing six year old who lives in two worlds, one of them imaginary. In Dory Fatasmagory: Dory, Dory Black Sheep, she invents games, creates an invisible best friend who sleeps under her bed, asks questions like:" Did you know that your belly button is a private part?" and  wears a Batman costume, just because she can.
      There's a tender part to this book and it's about reading. Dory is not much of a reader. Her teacher has placed her in a group of children who are wading through simple, limited text books about farm animals, while her friend Rosabelle and others are reading chapter books. This is a familiar situation for many young readers, and I think author Abby Hanlon knows it. Dory's crazy make believe ways manifest a black sheep that follows her around the school ( not unlike Mary's little lamb), and her friends are actually pretty supportive.
   This is the third book in the Dory series, and you could jump right in with it if you have a struggling reader at home. I recommend reading this aloud with someone who is having a hard time with reading, maybe a first or second grader who just doesn't have the confidence or the skill. I have to hand it to Hanlon, because Dory works at it, and eventually develops as a reader.
 
     If you like youth chapter book series with girls as main characters, consider Monica Brown's Lola Levine series and for girls as best friends, I'm a fan of the Ivy + Bean series by Annie Barrows and Sophis Blackall. As Women's history month comes to an end, reading books about fun, witty girl characters is right on time. 

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