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Month in review

The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers by Jan and Stan Berenstain
The Best Christmas Ever by James Patrick Kelley
The City by Allen J. Scott and Edward W. Soja
Commander Toad and the Voyage Home by Jane Yolen
The Dame in the Kimono by Leonard J. Leff by Jerold L. Simmons
Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese
Dragonite's Christmas by Akihito Toda and Kagemaru Himeno
The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit
The Fattening of America by Eric A. Finkelstein and Laurie Zuckerman
The Halloween Play by Felicia Bond
Heavens to Betsy & Other Curious Sayings by Charles Earle Funk
How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
Hungry Hill by Carol O'Malley Gaunt
Imaginative Still Life by Moira Huntly
In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird
The Mariah Delany Lending Library Disaster by Sheila Greenwald
Maxine an the Ghost Dog by Linda Pack Butler
Midnight Sun by Elwood Reid
Monkey See, Monkey Do by Marc Gave and Jacqueline Rogers
Murder in the Place of Anubis by Lynda S. Robinson
Olivia Counts by Ian Falconer
Rusty's Train Ride by Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright
Ship Fever by Anrea Barrett
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Pam Adams
The Toontown Players Present Chicken Little by Margaret Snyder
The Voluntary State by Christopher Rowe
The Winter of the Birds by Helen Cresswell
Witch Week by Diana Wynn Jones
Yours Turly, Shirley by Ann M. Martin

FSF Reviews:
If Angels Fight by John Bowes
Philologos, Or a Murder in Bistrita by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Yours Turly, Shirley

Yours Turly ShirleyYours Turly, Shirley: 02/14/08

Yours Turly, Shirley is the story of Shirley and Jackie. Shirley is learning to cope with her dyslexia and Jackie is trying to fit in as she is newly arrived from Vietnam. Shirley's parents have adopted Jackie and now these very different girls are sisters.

The story would have worked better if Yours Turly, Shirley were longer. Martin is trying to cover so many tricky subjects in the course of a 150 or so pages and ends up glossing over everything.

Then there is Jackie's country of origin. Had it been published in the early 1980s, it would have fit right in with so many of the children of American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers being adopted into families at the end of the Vietnam war. But by 1988, the war had been over for 15 years and Jackie is 8. It makes me wonder if Martin polished off an manuscript that had been sitting in her closet for a few years.

Although Jackie is described as being from Vietnam, her mannerisms and language mistakes make her sound Japanese. Her "Engrish" unfortunately paints all people from Asia as being the same and interchangeable. While I'm all for the universality of the human experience, I think Martin missed an opportunity to teach a little bit about Vietnamese culture.

On Shirley's side of the story, there's the dyslexia. She's supposedly been diagnosed a number of years ago and yet now that Jackie has appeared she's just starting extra studies with a counselor to learn how to cope. The dyslexia seemed to be a plot device to make the "competition" between Shirley and Jackie more even as Jackie learns to read and write in English. Otherwise, Shirley's dyslexia is about as convincing as Jackie's back story.

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