There's nothing I love more than a kid with a big imagination... except for a great book with characters who inspire and encourage kids to use that imagination and get creative. And when those characters are hilarious to boot, even better. So is the case with DORY FANTASMAGORY, by Abby Hanlon, who may just be my new fictional fave. And for those of you who know me, you know that's a bold statement. But Dory! Oh, my heart.
DORY FANTASMAGORY is the story of a young girl, called "Rascal" by her family, who desperately seeks the attention of her older brother and sister. Because her siblings think she is too babyish and typically refuse to play with her, Dory creates an imaginary friend, a monster called Mary, who puts up with Dory's relentless array of questions. But when Dory's antics get a bit out of control, her siblings take matters into their own hands. The two tell Dory about an evil woman named Mrs. Gobble Gracker who is known for robbing baby girls, and she is allegedly on the look out for dear Dory. What ensues when Dory's imagination spirals out of control as she attempts to disguise herself and trick the demonic Mrs. Gobble Gracker? Total and utter hilarity.
It takes a lot to get me giggling while I read, but almost right from the start, DORY FANTASMAGORY made me laugh out loud over and over again. This book is sheer perfection for those of you with little ones graduating from early readers and eager to begin their first chapter books. It has a perfect blend of text and illustrations, A+ pacing, plot and tone, incorporates great vocabulary words, and never strays from its mission of fully engaging its reader in Dory's hilarious antics. Put simply, Hanlon never remotely forgets the audience for whom she is writing. Dory is one of those fully imagined characters that Hanlon nails- she leaps off the page, practically feeding you laughing gas at her rate of eliciting giggles, and sticks with you long after the book has ended. DORY FANTASMAGORY, my friends, is an absolute must. What a gem.
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