Sunday, December 6, 2009

Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn ***

Well, when I break my reading fast I really break it! Just finished this little number--it's one of the Mark Twain Award nominees this year. It's the only one I've read so far, & it was pretty good.
It's the kind of spooky ghost story I would have really loved when I was in the 4th grade. It starts with a 13 year old girl, Ali, finding a picture of her mother & aunt from back in the summer of '77. The third girl in the picture has been ripped off, so that only her shoulder & some of her hair is vi sable. Turning it over, she finds that her name has been ripped off too--all that is left is a "T". She soon finds herself spending the summer at Gull Cottage in Maine with her aunt Dulcie & 4 year old cousin Emma. This is where the mysterious picture was taken 30 years before, & soon Ali is finding out that what happened all those years ago is still haunting not only her aunt & mother, but Gull Cottage as well.
Over all it was a fast, easy read that kept my interest. As I'm prone to do I found some nit-picky things that irked me, like the author describing the 2 cousins playing Candy Land with dice. Since when do you play Candy Land with dice?
Letting that go, I can see why the girls were reading this book like crazy at my son's school. My biggest beef with it is the lack of male characters--there is only the very minor character of Ali's dad, & that's it. It explains why I didn't see as many boys checking this book out as girls. I like balance in my reading, & I wish one of the major characters had been male. But I can also see why the author stuck with girls--it does lend some continuity to the stories of the past & present.
My only other beef is the level of maturity attributed to the 4 year old, Emma. At times she acts like a 4 year old, & at other times like a child much older. I had to go back at one point to the beginning of the book where it tells her age because I got so confused.
Otherwise, this was a good read, especially for kids. It didn't have much for adults other than the relationship between the 2 sisters, which sucked at times, & you don't have to tell me about that since I have a sister too! I highly recommend it for the 4th-6th grade girl in your life, if you have one!

1 comment:

Mary Witzl said...

I love the sound of this book. I know a couple of fourth grade teachers who are always looking for good books. I'll pass this on!