Do You Want Fries With That?
Grades 4 - 6 / Ages 9 - 11.
You haven't said much since the airboat ride, Brittany, Dad said as we passed the Orlando city limits sign. Almost four hours with only the occasional grunt isn't like you. Cat got your tongue?Martyn Godfrey (of catchy title fame) has written yet another book that deals with adolescent concerns - this time the strained relationship between divorced parents and the strained relationships between a child and an absentee parent. The story revolves around Brittany, a 13 year-old-girl, who is going to Florida with her friend Laura. They are going to visit Brittany's dad, whom she has not seen for 15 months. Brittany has grown up since their last visit, and is no longer a little girl. Her father is a worrier. He has trouble adjusting to the changes in his daughter, and has difficulty relating to her. The subplot involves meeting the boy the two girls dream of, the star of a popular TV show. The conflict in the plot is resolved when Brittany's dad realizes that he has to adjust to the new reality that is his teenage daughter, and he resolves to strengthen their relationship by seeing her more often. The dreamboat TV star turns out to be an ordinary, likable boy; and, the two girls go back to Toronto happy.
I've always thought that was a dumb expression. Yes, I told him. The dumb cat has got my dumb tongue.
Ouch, Laura said.
There's absolutely no need to be rude, Dad lectured.
This book has a plot that deals with a contemporary issue in the lives of children and adolescents. It has the happy ending people like to see in a book, and an appropriate amount of humour and irony in the form of Laura, who often gets caught with her foot in her mouth. The setting begins in Toronto, but takes place mostly in Florida. At least there is a touch of Canada in it, and many kids are familiar with Florida and Disneyworld as a vacation spot. The names of the characters, the places they visit and the things they talk about are written in contemporary language. The language level is not difficult, and the book falls into the category of bulk reading for students in grades 4-6.
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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