CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 11 . . . .January 19, 2007
Lily used to love school. When school was about dressing up, playing games, acting out stories, singing songs and painting bright pictures, school was a delight. Now that Lily is in grade two, however, school is no longer any fun. As her classmates move ahead with their reading, Lily's school world becomes a torment. When it is her turn to read aloud, "her face grows hot and her hands get shaky." Lily starts to make up excuses to avoid reading, and she feigns illnesses to keep her away from school. When the teacher announces a Parent Day the following week, Lily dreads the fact that all of the students will be expected to read aloud before the group. "Her lip starts to quiver. Her eyes fill with tears." Fortunately for Lily, she has supportive, understanding allies in her teacher, her mother and her good friend, Grace. With their help, and with lots of effort on Lily's part, Lily is able to struggle through and enjoy success.
In Lily and the Mixed-Up Letters, Deborah Hodge writes with a sensitivity reflective of her understanding of the difficulties faced by children struggling with reading. Hodge is a former elementary school teacher, and one assumes that she has had first-hand experience working with striving readers. France Brassard's watercolour illustrations combine perfectly with Hodge's text to put a realistic face to Hodge's protagonist, thus adding to the authenticity of the struggle Lily faces. The illustrations are a real strength of the book.
Recommended with reservations.
Gregory Bryan is a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. One of the courses he teaches is Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.