Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Goody for these girls!

Have you heard of these great girl heroes?
Sammy Keyes
Ellie McDoodle
Daisy Dawson
They're some of my favorite recent characters, and I'm constantly recommending them here at the store.

Sammy Keyes is a series by Wendelin Van Draanen, and Sammy is like Nancy Drew's plucky, punky cousin, as much mis-adventure as adventure. Sammy is whip-smart, has a keen eye for details and clues, but is constantly getting into trouble, whether it's with her grandmother or the police, specifically Officer Borsch, the policeman who sees her as nothing more than a nosy kid. Sammy knows better, she may be nosy, but she's no kid--she's Sammy Keyes, girl detective.

Ellie McDoodle, by Ruth McNally Barshaw, is the star of her own diary, featured in Ellie McDoodle, Have Pen, Will Travel. Ellie has to spend her summer with her aunt and cousins that she hates. Visually, it's reminiscent of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: it's got a "handwritten" font, with drawings to illustrate points. Ellie's not as goofy as Wimpy Kid, but has great art and lots of excitement and drama.

Daisy Dawson is the newest in a long line of great elementary school girls. What I like best about her is that she's not precocious like Junie B., or headstrong, like Clementine. Instead, she's a dreamer. She's gentle and sweet and loves animals, and as a result she is granted the gift of understanding the speech of animals, from dogs and horses to gerbils and ants. And this is the other thing that makes this great: it's got just a touch of fantasy, avoiding the sometimes cloying, crowded fantasy of fairy tales, intead allowing this great character to come to the fore and work her own magic.

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