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I don't review books I don't like!

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


***Period Pieces

Stories for Girls

selected by Erszi Deak and Kristin Embry Litchman

Reviewed March 29, 2003.
HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2003.  144 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF PER)
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #3, Short Story Collections
Starred book on Bank Street College's Best Children's Books of the Year list, 2003

This book is a collection someone should have thought of long ago:  Stories about girls getting their periods for the first time.  I had trouble deciding whether to list it as Children’s Fiction or Young Adult, because of course it’s for girls making the transition between being children and becoming young adults.  I decided to list it as a children’s book, since of course we’re more curious about that transition before it occurs.  This book makes fun, nostalgic reading for older women, too.  I found it to be the perfect piece of brain candy for a crampy evening!

The stories are warm and delightful.  There are scenes of embarrassment, anticipation, consternation and exhilaration.  My favorite is Bobbi Katz’s hilarious story of a girl putting a pad to use before she knew what it was for.  Most of all, they are stories about growing up, something all women can relate to.

This collection is perfect for girls on the brink of puberty.  They show that everyone’s different, but none of us is alone.  What better way to show that than through story?

I do want to add a word about my rating system.  I rate the books by the amount that I enjoyed them and don’t even review books I don’t enjoy.  In some ways, that’s not fair to a book like this that is written for a specific niche.  If I were a girl 10-12 years old, or even had a daughter that age, I probably would have given it four stars.  As it is, I enjoyed it in a nostalgic sense, but I’m not exactly its target audience.

Many of the children’s nonfiction books may get lower ratings for this same reason.  I rate them based on how much I enjoy them, not on how much they might appeal to their target audience, since then I would only be guessing.  As I said, I’m not sure that this is completely fair, but it means I don’t have to try to guess how other readers will respond.

Another way you can think of my ratings is this:  Four- and Five-star books are definitely worth owning.  One- and Two-start books are worth checking out of the library.  Three-star books are somewhere in between.  For some people, they will be worth buying.  In the case of Period Pieces, it will be those people who have pre-teen girls in their family.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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