Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Snap by Alison McGhee

Before I begin to tell you about this book (which I read in one sitting this morning) I have to say sadly this book Snap is long out of print.

As we were working through our stocktake or inventory I picked up books I had read and enjoyed with copies that were looking tired and worn.  Four of these books are long out of print so I thought, before I start to investigate second hand copies, I should re-read them just to see if my memory is accurate and books like Snap are worth replacing.

My verdict is YES - Snap is terrific.  This is a short book at 135 pages and it has large print which is always welcome.  The main characters in this book are eleven and so this book is perfect for middle and senior primary readers (probably of more appeal to girls).

Eddie (Edwina Stiles Beckey) is the narrator and she introduces us to her best friend Sally (Sally Wilmarth Hobart) and her beautiful grandmother Willie (Wihelmina).  Willie reminded me of Nell from the Silk family books.

Are you a list person?  I certainly am.  I write lists all the time.  I adore crosing things off my lists.  I even have a special stash of paper squares in my kitchen that I use for my list writing.  Eddie also loves lists.  Eddie is a thoughtful girl, she asks lots of questions and thinks deeply about the people in her life.  She thinks a lot about her friend Sally.  They met in Grade Two and even though they are different in so many ways (Sally for example has no patience with lists and Sally has perfect hair) they have a wonderful close friendship.  Sally lives with her grandmother becuase her mum Jill was only 15 when Sally was born.  Jill works in a local supermarket but she seems unable to speak and communicates using smiles and head movements. 

Every Sunday the girls eat doughnuts with Willie.  Here is the first hint that something might be wrong with Willie :

"As long as I can remember, Willie has gotten up early on Sunday morning and walked into Sterns.  She brings back chocolate covered sprinkle doughnuts ... and Willie watches us. ... This has been our routine for years.  'Don't you want a doughnut?' I asked once, way in the beginning before I knew how she felt about sugar.  'Thank you, Eddie ... I'm not much of  a sugar person ... I do love a good doughnut hole, though. She reached over to my doughnut and pretended to pluck out the hole ... And she ate it.  I watched her as she rolled her eyes and smiled and pretended to chew."

Life is a journey and Willie is nearing the end of hers.  This book shows how love, insight and determination means Eddie can help Sally cope with this very difficult period of change.

Here is the author web site.  We have her funny picture book Countdown to Kindergarten in our school library.  Here is the Kirkus review.  You might also enjoy Missing May.  I am also excited to see my friend Mr K has a review of Snap.

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