Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review: 19 Girls and Me by Darcy Pattison

Title: 19 Girls and Me
Author: Darcy Pattison
Illustrator: Steven Salerno
Publisher: Philomel
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
John Hercules Po's kindergarten class is made up of 19 girls . . . and him. His older brother warns him not to let all those girls turn him into a sissy, but as John Hercules Po discovers, he needn't worry. As he and the girls let their imaginations run wild during recess, they end up digging all the way to The Great Wall of China, floating on the Amazon river, singing to the Man on the Moon, and racing a car 600 miles per hour.  
So . . . 19 girls and 1 lone boy? Nope, even better —20 good friends.
Overall Rating: 4/5

I was pleasantly surprised by how good this book is. The cover didn't grab me at all and I was expecting a so-so book, but apparently my niece knows the good ones when she sees them. She took this right off the shelf and said, "I want this one."

The main message of this book is friendship. It teaches that no matter your gender, you can all play great games, have fun, and be friends. And it does this in a creative, fun way by delving into the world of children and imagining all sorts of activities they do and places they go. It is too easy to turn this sort of message into a preachy sermon, but Pattison stays away from that and keeps it fun. And oh my goodness are the words catchy! After reading it once, the catch phrase, "nineteen girls and one lone boy" stayed in my head for hours. It's very rhythmical. Children will love having this read to them.

The illustrations were also a lot better than I expected from the cover. Whenever the characters play a pretend game and "go somewhere," such as The Great Wall of China or the Amazon river, the pictures really come to life. There's a lot of detail and bright colors that kids will love. During one reading, my niece took the time to count all the birds and alligators (or was it crocodiles?) in the Amazon picture, so this story can be used for reading, geography, and counting too!

In short, I recommend this one. Children will love it, adults will love it, and it's a story that you can use for teaching a lot of different things. Definitely worth the money!