Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations

cover

***Mercy Watson to the Rescue

by Kate DiCamillo

illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Reviewed December 17, 2006.
Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2005.  72 pages.

Newbery winner Kate DiCamillo has turned her hand to beginning chapter books.  This book has twelve short chapters and simple declarative sentences, but doesn’t shy away from bigger words like “frightened,” “opinion,” and “windowpane.”

The silly but heart-warming story tells of the Watsons, who have a “porcine wonder,” a pig named Mercy, and treat her like their child.  They tuck her into bed at night, and feed her piles of buttered toast for breakfast.  There is nothing Mercy likes better than buttered toast.

One night, Mercy feels lonely, and snuggles into bed with the Watsons.  Unfortunately, Mercy’s weight makes the bed begin to fall through the floor.  The Watsons are afraid to move, but Mercy goes in quest of buttered toast—and ends up alerting the fire department and saving the day.

Along the way, we meet two elderly neighbors, Baby and Eugenia Lincoln.  Eugenia does not care for Mercy.  In her opinion, pigs belong on farms.  Kids will enjoy this reversal, where Eugenia, with the more traditional view of the situation, is the one who doesn’t get her way.

The illustrations are charming, adding warmth and fun to the story.  The illustrator says at the back, “This is exactly the type of story I love to illustrate—a wonderful silly adventure with lots of action.”  He summarizes it well, and his love for the story comes out in the joyous pictures.

Reviews of other books by Kate DiCamillo:
Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig
Bink and Gollie
Bink and Gollie: Two For One
Bink and Gollie: Best Friends Forever
The Tale of Despereaux
Flora and Ulysses
Raymie Nightingale

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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