Sunday, June 22, 2014

The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi

Kate De Goldi, New Zealand author of The 10 PM Question has a delightful new chapter book for readers of all ages. The ACB with Honora Lee is about the power of intergenerational relationships. Perry is an irrepressible girl with distracted parents. When Perry's grandmother, who has dementia, is moved to a facility within walking distance, Perry begins regular visits.
If Perry's father left the room Gran asked Perry questions instead.
'Who is that man?' said Gran.
'He's my dad,' said Perry. 'His name is Jonathan Sunley. He's your son.'
He's your Sunley, thought Perry, smiling, but she didn't say that to Gran in case it was confusing.
'Are you Imogen?' said Gran.
'No,' said Perry. 'I'm Perry.'
'That's a boy's name.' Gran squinted at Perry. 'Are you a boy? Where is Imogen?'
'I don't know. And, I'm a girl.'
'Your hair's short.'
'So is yours.' This wasn't rude because it was true. Gran's hair was short and thin and close to her head, like a swimming cap.
'She's probably late,' said Gran. 'She'll be late for her own funeral.'
'Probably,' said Perry. She couldn't think what else to say.
'I spy with my little eye,' said Gran.
'Goody,' said Perry. She liked I Spy.
'Something beginning with spectacles,' said Gran. She pointed her bent finger at Perry's spectacles, which were hard to miss.
'You're supposed to say a letter,' said Perry. You should say, "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with S."'
'Well, best be going,' said Gran. 'No rest for the wicked.'
And she stood up and walked away, which was usually how a visit to Gran ended.
Perry is a wonderful character. Every time she sees her grandmother, she reminds her that she is her granddaughter. Perry is bright and full of questions, good at solving problems, and loves to play with language.
'Maybe bumblebees are just getting stupider,' said Perry. She was thinking of becoming a zoologist when she grew up.
'There's no such word as stupider,' said both her parents together.
Perry looked up from the picture she was drawing. (It was a spider making a web.)
'There is now,' she said.
The primary audience for this warm, witty and wise story is between Grade 3 and 7.

The book itself is beautifully packaged, with coloured drawings by Gregory O'Brien, including the bumblebee pattern on the cloth cover and the whimsical alphabet endpapers. Even the squarish size is just right -- like a gift ready to be presented. Treat a young person... or yourself.

Readalikes: Counting by 7s (Holly Goldberg Sloan); The Higher Power of Lucky (Susan Patron).

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