Wednesday, February 29, 2012

True...sort of by Katherine Hannigan

Ahhh, what a week it's been.  I can't get into it too much at this point but suffice it to say the love affair I have with my job has taken a huge hit in the last 10 days.  While all that has been happening I've been reading this soothing and poetically written gem by Katherine Hannigan.

355 pages
It's not soothing as in everything is all hunky dory-the book has two  major conflicts-but Hannigan has a unique style of writing.  She's also created a very quirky cast of characters.  Delly (short for Delaware) Pattison has trouble not getting in little bits of trouble.  She is picked on by a bully, Novello, who for the sake of loving Delly can't help but be mean to her at this point in his life.  It makes them miserable and includes some fierce wrestling/spitting matches on the playground.  She also has run-ins with a local grocery store maven and Officer Verena Tibbetts has Delly on her "list of The Worst Children in River Bluffs." (4)

Her reputation follows poor Delly wherever she goes even when she's trying to help caged-in chickens at the county fair or borrowing a boat for a little river adventure.  She gets fed up with her own ability to find trouble when she sees her mother cry over a recent incident.  Delly vows to change her ways to make her mother proud.  I like this thread of Delly's tale as it shows a child's thought process in trying to work out how and why her trouble happens.  

Delly in her quest to have better days starts allowing her little brother, RB to hang with her more often.  He is able to keep her calm in several situations and even teaches Delly about counting to keep calm.  While her and RB are off trying for adventure without trouble-making they see a young boy, sad as can be, drive through town in a beat-up old green Impala.  On Monday she finds out the boy is actually a girl named Ferris Boyd.  Delly's teacher, the wonderful Mr. Terwilliger, informs her that Ferris does not speak and is not to be touched.  Hmm.  Delly's curiosity is peaked.  Delly has her own vocabulary throughout, cataloged in a Delly Dictionary by Hannigan, which adds to her charming character:
After school Delly ran to Ferris Boyd.  "Hey," she said softly, and fell in beside her, like they'd been friends forever.
She waited till they were at the bridge to ask, "Ferris Boyd, did you see? I didn't fight." Then she told her, without saying a word, I heard you.
Ferris Boyd stopped and turned to Delly.  her eyes were still sad, but there was something else in them.  Something like a smile.
It was only a second.  Her head went down again, and she was shuffling along the road.
It was all Delly needed.  Ferris Boyd had heard her, too.  "All right then." She grinned. (168)
This tale gently shares many themes with the reader and would make a wonderful read-aloud to understand more about bullies, abuse, anger management, good teaching and the rough road to friendship. Students will cheer for Delaware Pattison.

"Happy Hallelujah"~ Delly 

I was encouraged to pick up True because I loved Ida B, her first book.
Hannigan is an Iowa author!

Both books are green and share similar sentiments inside;  "We care about the health of this planet and all of its inhabitants.  So the first hardcover printing of this book used 100% postconsumer recycled paper (that means that no trees were cut down to create the paper).  And that paper was processed chlorine-free, because when chlorine is used to bleach paper, the process creates toxic by-products called dioxins and furans that can make people and animals sick...."  
A book company, Harper Collins, that I can fully support!  How come more books aren't produced in this method?  To find out more information go to

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I hope things level out at your job. Word stress is the worst.