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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep, written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon. Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin. 2016. $19.99 ages 5 and up

"Rosabelle comes running over. "Rascal! Why are you eating your lunch before school again?" "I'm not eating it all. I'm sharing it with ... " I start to say but then stop. I don't want to tell Rosabelle that a lamb escaped from my embarrassing babyish farm book. "Oh, never mind," I say. "Oh," she says, and looks disappointed."

If you have not yet met Dory Fantasmagory, you need to do that! If you have, you won't need me to tell you much about her third adventure. You are likely to be anticipating its publication, especially if your children are fans as so many are. I share this post because I, too, am a fan.

I don't want anyone to miss the chance to meet Dory. So, here I go. Dory is an independent, outspoken and struggling first grader. Reading is not her strong suit. She doesn't like the 'baby' books she must read to help her improve her skills. Her reading partner is George, an 'old' friend.

"George and I have a basket of Easy
Reader books. I take them out of the bin one by
one. "This one is about farm animals ... this one
is about farm animals ... farm animals ... farm
animals ... Every single one of these books is
about farm animals! These books are terrible!"
I say."

Their teacher thinks they are perfect for them. Dory would much rather be reading with her 'new' friend, Rosabelle. She can read 'thick chapter books' in her head. That is not going to happen. So, Dory (as she so often does) turns to her imagination to make her life better. She imagines a black sheep named Goblin right out of the pages of one of their farm books ... and the fun begins again!

Dory enlists help from her fairy godmother, Mr. Nuggy. He concocts a potion to help Dory with her reading. Dory's enemy Mrs. Gobble Cracker intercepts, drinking it down in one gulp. Oops, one wrong ingredient and the magic has disturbing results.

"I figured it out! Gigi is Mrs. Gobble
Cracker! As a kid!" I try to look scared,
but I can't help smiling because I love this

The adventure continues when Dory visits Rosabelle in her castle, becomes Superhero Captain Puff, saves Rosabelle's spying little brother, and returns Goblin to his family. It's fast-paced, filled with lively drawings that are just right for the storyline and for its early readers.

You don't want to miss it. You will love Dory, her imaginary world and her transformation from being a hesitant reader to one who is determined to get better at it.

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