Friday, January 11, 2013

Truly Tan by Jen Storer illustrated by Claire Robertson

Truly Tan is truly perfect in every way.  This is an ideal book for a young reader.  It is funny, there is an adventure and you might even meet a ghost.  I smiled all the way through this terrific little book. Girls especially in Grades 1-4 are sure to fall in love with Tan and her wacky sisters.

Tan is the youngest girl.  Her sisters were all named by their mother and they have names like lollipops or traffic lights - Emerald, Amber and Rose.  When the fourth baby arrives Dad does the naming but it still has to be a colour hence we have Tan.

As the story opens the family are moving from the city to a new house in the country.  They take with them all the family pets (dad is a vet) - a tiny dog called Doodad she is a Poohuahua, a poodle chihuahua cross, Queen Victoria or QV a tortoise, Babbles the parrot, E the cat and Awesome, Tan's large dog who is always depressed.

Life in the country potentially gets off to a bad start when the removal truck simply dumps all their possessions and drives away.  Then the family find they do not have the key to the new house and so the first night is spent sleeping on the veranda  Tan really enjoys this.  To mark the way into the property the agent has left a dead fox draped on the roadside letter box but when the sisters retrace their journey out to the road the next morning the fox has disappeared.  While they are trying to work out what might have happened they meet a young boy called Ted who has made a hideout with his sister, called the Purple Haunt.  Ted allows the girls to join the Chosen Few - people who know about this hideout but are sworn to secrecy.  And so the adventures begin.

Scattered through the book are word definitions and diary entries from Tan herself.  Here are some of the words Tan defines :

My most favourite word is popularness.  "I need something fascinating for my first Show and Tell.  Something envy-making. Something that will definitely make me the popular new girl from the city. My eyes land on the cat skeleton.  Purrrfect."

The other part of this book that I really appreciated was Tan's mother who is a food writer and splendid cook.  The meals that are described in this book sound delicious.  It is so refreshing to find a story featuring parents who are good cooks.

If you enjoy this book then look for other series like Clarice Bean, Ivy and Bean, Keena Ford, Violet Mackerel, Clementine or Alice Miranda.

I am pleased to see I have already reviewed a few books by Jen Storer including Tensy Farlow, and Norman does Nothing.  I wonder if Truly Tan will be short listed for 2013 CBCA Awards I do hope it is.

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