Monday, March 24, 2008

Contemporary Realistic Fiction: The Quigleys

Mason, Simon. 2002. The Quigleys. Illus. by Helen Stephens. NY: David Flicking Books. ISBN: 0385750064.

The Quigley family is like any other not-so-perfect British or American families. In this intermediate chapter book, the four episodic chapters individually introduce each of the family members: Dad, Lucy, Mum and Will, through stories of little adventures and misadventures like how Dad temporarily lost one of the neighbor’s kids that he is babysitting, Lucy making her own bee costume to wear to a wedding rather than the typical bridesmaid dress that Mum wants her wear, turning Mum’s birthday from an “awful day” where she misses the ballet to a fun-filled evening of a ballet performed by Lucy and Will and refreshments concocted by everything from the liquor cabinet, and, finally, Will’s lesson in undertaking the sometimes harsh consequences of helping a friend even if it means possibly losing the Christmas present he’s been wanting since summer. The simple black and white drawings that are sprinkled through out the book help expresses the moods of the characters and situations during each of the stories (Lucy’s reveal of her bee costume is a great example). Though some readers and parents may find the British lifestyle (Dad likes to swear and Mum likes to drink) and lingo, although accurately represented, odd and perhaps offensive, Mason’s first attempt at children’s literature is perfect for those who are not yet up to full-length novels and will find this humorous and true-to-life.

CONNECTIONS *Read more stories about this quirky Brit family with The Quigleys at Large, The Quigleys: Not for Sale and The Quigleys in a Spin.

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