Saturday, June 09, 2007

Diary of a Fairy Godmother, by Esme Raji Codell

Hunky Dory's mom has always had big dreams for her only child. "You will be the wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow," she assures Hunky frequently. And Hunky Dory has a good chance of reaching her mother's highest expectations as she is at the top of her class in Charm school and has a knack for evil magic.

read excerpts from "spelling" test starting on page 9

But the truth is Hunky Dory isn't sure that a life of evil witchiness is really for her. During a venture with her Auntie Malice, a new possibility presents itself: why not use her powers to help folks? Maybe she'd rather become an FG---a Fairy Godmother, than a wicked witch. Hunky's coven friends, mother, and teachers are all horrified at this possibility, but how can Hunky Dory be satisfied and happy with her life if she doesn't figure out how to dance to the beat of her own drum?

Why I liked this book: I was constantly entertained and challenged by the reversedness of Hunky Dory's worldview. The book only makes sense if you remember that in Hunky's world bad is good and good is bad. The whole book is full of these surprising, funny, zany twists of reality. These twists kept my reading alert and active. I also liked this book cuz I had some strong text to self connections with Hunky Dory and how she desperately wanted to be her own person but also yearned to feel loved and accepted by her mom. (My connections were to my relationship with my mom and my relationships with my three daughters).

Why I think you, dear fifth and sixth graders, will enjoy this book: you'll like Hunky Dory's character. She's clever, smart, and a mixture of goodness and badness, just like many of you. You'll have fun making text to text connections with many different fairy tales. Hunky Dory's crush, for example, is Rumpelstiltskin. Her house is devoured by the hungry Big Bad Wolf (he's still hungry after Red Riding Hood escapes). And she first learns about FGs---Fairy Godmothers---at the birth party for Sleeping Beauty.

Give this book a try if you like fractured fairy tales, stories about witches, or characters that are funny and optimistic.

Yeah, (little jig-of-joy), #2 done! I just have to say, for the sake of remembering and passing along information: I'm concerned that all the tongue-in-cheekiness of this book (which I really enjoyed) would be hard for lots of my students to wade through. I hope I'm wrong about this prediction, but that is my single concern.

Also, the booktalking format that I'm following has one strength, that I'm beginning to appreciate: it makes me share slices of myself in very classroom-community-building and relationship-enhancing kinda ways. I'm excited to coach my kids through writing their own booktalks next year, too.

1 comment:

Camille said...

I picked this book up at a school bookfair but have not read it yet. Thanks for the review. I need to read it ASAP.