Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dresses and Ghosts

I really enjoyed David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress. It had a very nice, breezy English flavor, reminiscent of Dahl in its conversational tone. The Quentin Blake illustrations add to this quite a bit. However, I don't know to whom I would give this book. Dennis is a boy who likes to play soccer but isn't very happy at home because his mother left and his father is hands-off. When he sees a Vogue magazine, he is drawn to the fashions, and he meets a girl on whom he has a crush, and the two start reading magazines together. Then she wants to dress Dennis up in an orange sequined dress and bring him to school masquerading as a French girl. Soon Dennis' cover is blown, and he is not permitted to play in the soccer tournament until local convenience store owner tells Dennis that the principal comes into the store on Saturdays in a dress. Everything ends well, and even the store owner gets to wear a dress in the end. I'm just not sure what the message was. Cross-dressing is okay? It really didn't read like a problem novel.

Betty Ren Wright has a big following at my school. Unfortunately, the cover I have for Christina's Ghost is the less-than-attractive 1985 version. Still, this has circulated well. Christina has to spend the summer with her crabby uncle in a haunted Victorian house and tries to solve the mystery of what happened to the young boy who lived there so the ghosts are at peace. The reading level on this is fairly low, and I'm almost tempted to get a new copy.

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