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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Newspaper Boy and Origami Girl, written and illustrated by Michael Foreman. Andersen Press, Random House. 2012. $22.95 ages 5 and up

"...and soon spotted the group of bullies as they ran through the streets. snatching first an old lady's bag and then a little boy's mobile phone, The bullies joined up with other gangs and they all headed into an old tumble-down building by the river."

It was such a surprise to receive this imaginative tale in the mail this week! Not only is it a fun read; it connects me immediately to a book that I had just finished reading which I will tell you about in the next post.

Kids will love the soaring imagination that takes them from contemporary times to the past when young boys sold newspapers for pennies a day. What he doesn't sell in a day becomes Joey's bed for the cold nights of autumn. So, when he is bullied by a gang of young thugs, it is a revelation when his newspapers turn into a superheroine, who comes to his rescue. She is Origami Girl and she finds form in the newspapers that he is carrying when he is attacked. 

Despite the fact that they are five, and she only one, the bullies take to making themselves scarce. Joey is distraught that they have his money. Origami Girl is quick to reassure him that the search for the crooks is on. She expertly folds a pair of wings from the leftover newspapers, and they are off to soar above the London streets in search of the gang. They catch sight of them and watch as they pilfer from other vulnerable people. They then spy on a den of robbers and ne'er-do-wells from a skylight, before Origami Girl launches herself into their midst 'somersaulting, spinning, back-flipping, cartwheeling, and knocking them over like skittles.'

When the dust settles and the leader is jailed, Origami Girl quietly leaves Joey to garner headlines and accept congratulations. There is promise that this may only be his first adventure....let's keep our fingers crossed!

Young readers will love this tale of transformation and comeuppance! The watercolor illustrations place them in the middle of the action, looking at it from various perspectives and always in hope that the bullies will get what is coming to them. I was also left with the feeling that those young boys were being exploited to gather loot for the boss man, garnering a slight sympathy for them. Filled with action and goodness, this is a story that is sure to be read again and again.

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