Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Another D for DeeDee

32492284Belford, Bibi. Another D for DeeDee
July 3rd 2018 by Sky Pony Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

DeeDee hates her real name-- Dinora, especially since she has vowed not to speak Spanish until her father, who has left the family without telling them why, returns. She and her mother and siblings have had to move to an apartment, and she must start a new school as the family struggles with his absence. DeeDee is very outspoken and has some trouble fitting into her new classroom, where there are few immigrant children. She also has an accident the first day of school after falling asleep at her desk, and hopes that other students don't notice. Her older sister has no problem fitting in, but her older brother is struggling with getting his GED after getting out of the military. Her mother is trying to keep food on the table. When DeeDee passes out in school, she finds out that her accident, as well as several of her other problems, are caused by her undiagnosed diabetes. She's not very happy with the diet that she is put on, which is light on PopTarts and jellybeans and heavy on fresh fruit and other healthy foods, but she does try her best to stick to it so she doesn't end up in the hospital for another expensive stay her family can't afford. She does make a friend in neighbor River, although she doesn't always treat him well. In the end, DeeDee makes strides in understanding her diabetes, getting along with other students, and in dealing with her father's absence and the effect this has on her family life.
Strengths: The details about the effects of diabetes and dealing with its treatment are thorough, but don't overwhelm the other plot elements. The same is true of the fate of DeeDee's father, and this is a very timely topic. It's good to see how other students react to a student with diabetes as well, and students in elementary school frequently have problems dealing appropriately with friends, so it's good to see DeeDee make mistakes and learn to change her attitude and behavior.
Weaknesses: DeeDee is not the most pleasant character, and she does struggle with eating properly. I think this is an elementary school/middle school difference-- the students I've had with diabetes have all been super on top of things and very good about managing themselves, but then they've had more time to adjust than DeeDee has had. She does have a few catch phrase (like "Oh my gatos!"), but they are used sparingly!
What I really think: I liked this better than Canned and Crushed, and since there are so few books dealing with children facing the challenges of diabetes, I'll definitely be purchasing this.

Warner, Sally. Absolutely Alfie and the Princess Wars.(#4)
September 4th 2018 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher

Halloween is approaching, and Alfie isn't sure what she wants to wear to school for a costume. The party in her class isn't on Halloween itself, but has been scheduled for Friday, so students aren't hyped up in the middle of the week, but some of the students are less than pleased with this idea. When some of the girls decide to be princesses, the second grade erupts in quiet arguments because the girls think there can only be ONE princess costume. Alfie also wants to be a princess, even though she and new friend Bella have decided to be rabbits and Bella's mother is making costumes. Alfie has her mother make a princess costume, which she loves, but she is afraid that if she wears it, Bella and all of the other girls will be angry. How will she make a compromise that will lead to fewer problems?
Strengths: Alfie is a likable character who struggles to do what is right. She is a very ordinary child, so her perception of the other students in her class is interesting. Her friendship with Bella has some bumps at the beginning, but it is good to see that Alfie is able to get along with someone new. Alfie's family is very supportive, if occasionally irritated with her, and the scenes at school are realistic. The book has a nice balance of events that show what life is like in second grade for Alfie.
Weaknesses: The topics in the other books-- pets, friends, and sleepovers-- transitioned well to 6th grade, but I'm not sure that princess Halloween costumes will be of interest to my readers. Do any schools still allow costumes? My district hasn't for 20 years. Still, this is a great addition to an elementary collection and I would have loved it when I was in first grade.
What I really think: I'd be curious to see what kind of older middle grade series Warner would produce. There are a lot of facets to the personalities of the second graders that seem more middle school appropriate to me (Are there second graders ANYWHERE who shower in the morning and wear "outfits"? My daughters got a bath on Saturday night and wore unisex t shirts, jeans, and tennis shoes every single day!), and certainly my students enjoy reading about friend drama.


  1. This is the first book I've heard of that deals with childhood diabetes.

  2. Good to see a book about a teen with diabetes. This is a topic I haven't shared on my site. So glad to read your thorough review.