Monday, December 17, 2007

Jerry Spinelli: Powerful Messages

Want to become a famous major league baseball player and play shortstop for the New York Yankees? Jerry Spinelli had the same dream growing up as a kid in Norristown, Pennsylvania playing with his brother Bill. He was born in 1941, soon developing these dreams of aspiration as any kid does growing up. It wasn’t until the age of 16 that he wanted to become a writer. Spinelli attended a high school football game when he decided to write an article for the daily newspaper. Little did he know it would get posted the next day and that he would someday become a famous writer among young adult authors. Jerry attended John Hopkins University where he received his masters in creative writing. He wrote 20 books that have since seen published. Spinelli has won a number of awards for the books he has written including the Newberry Medal Award. I had the opportunity to read 2 of his books named Milkweed and Maniac Magee.
There are a number of similarities between these books. Both have a young boy who is lost as an orphan trying to find their place in life. ‘Maniac’ leaves his aunt and uncle to find a new start. He ends up at a town that is racially divided between black and white. Here he is faced with the challenges of adapting to his surroundings. He becomes famous from his talents and changes the way people throughout the town see things. Misha (isn’t his real name; he doesn’t know it), who is from the story Milkweed is truly an amazing character. He finds himself lost in the streets during the holocaust with only the memory of his horse and family. Even at a young age, he uses his talent of size and stealth for the benefit of the people he grew to love surrounding him. He would risk his own life just to help that of another’s. I think these books were designed to give a sense of model behavior to the extreme to children of our youth. Both of these boys had nothing, but still managed to give so much, to so many. They each had special gifts you could say. One was perfect for his environment; small, quick and sleek. The other just had miraculous talents, such as baseball and football, giving him the ability to even beat those who were years older. Maniac was not as dark of a book as Milkweed, mainly because there is the knowing that in the end, the family went to the concentration. There can be many lessons created using these 2 books. During my research, I found a number of sites that had ready-made plans for the taking. Here are a couple: milkweedplans, andManiacplans.
Jerry Spinelli and the characters he creates can be enjoyed by all people. I enjoyed his readings so much that I wasn't afraid to have my dad read them as well. He finished one and said he loved it, and if you knew my father you would understand that that was a huge compliment. I myself cannot wait to begin reading the rest of his 20, I am sure of, masterpieces.

Critical Analysis of Avi texts

Avi has written an abundant amount of books in his long career. Part of his appeal to young readers is his extremely varied range of topics covered in his novels. He has written comedies, historical fiction, fables and many more. It is very difficult to compare and contrast his books because of how different they can be. Sometimes it is like comparing apples to oranges. In the case of The Book Without Words and Don't You Know There's a War On? that problem is exactly the issue. I will begin with a short description of each of the books.

The Book Without Words
This novel is set in the medieval era and the story revolves around an alchemist, his servant and his raven. The action begins with the alchemist using a mysterious Book Without Words to create the stones of life. His servant, Sybil and his raven, Odo come into the information that their Master plans to sacrifice them in order to gain eternal life and they must make a decision as to what plan of action to take in order to survive. The story is in the format of a fable with anthropomorphic characters and a final lesson to be learned.

Don't You Know There's a War On?

This novel is set during World War II and follows the life of a young boy throughout his fifth grade year in school. When he discovers that his favorite teacher is going to be fired, Howie and his best friend, Denny, come up with a plan to save her job. It demonstrates the effect that a really good teacher can have on the lives of his/her students and the important lessons students can learn from life.

Both of these books are wonderfully written and exciting from the first page. The action continues nearly right up to the very end of the book. The books are each set in extremely distinct time periods and the era almost becomes a character in itself because of the deep description provided and the effects on the action the time has. Avi's characterizations are deep and meaningful and he does a wonderful job making the characters real to the reader. Howie and Denny and Sybil, Alfric and Odo are all experiencing a crisis in morality. In The Book Without Words the characters must confront the knowledge that their Master has placed them in a position where they must chose ending his life or losing their own. Sybil struggles with this dilemma in the fact that she wishes to find a way to save herself without betraying her Master. Howie learns of a course of action to take place that he feels is extremely unfair. He and his friend must decide whether or not Miss Gossim's job should be saved. As soon as Howie determines the reason for the firing he decides that it is unjust and he sets out to fix the situation. Both dilemmas are solved by the end of the novels, however, they are solved in very different ways. In Don't You Know There's a War On? the novel is concluded with a successful and happy Howie. However, in The Book Without Words, the action is concluded with the demise of Sybil's Master, the metamorphasis of Odo and the uncertain future of the three main characters. Each of these books seems to be teaching a few lessons one of which is the same. Both books provide the idea that even the underdog can win a battle if the cause is important enough to them. Both Sybil and Howie succeed in their causes. However, The Book Without Words mentions the importance of understanding that life is not eternal and the important aspect of life is not how long it is but the quality of the life led. Don't You Know There's a War On? highlights the importance of friendship and the lasting effect that relationships have on those involved. These books are really wonderful reads that engage the reader right from the beginning and keep your complete attention all the way to the end. They discuss topics that are important for all people young and old to think about including friendship, ethics, and mortality. These books left me wanting more and led me right to some of Avi's fantastic other titles like Midnight Magic, Crispin: The Cross of Lead and The Man Who Was Poe.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Critical Analysis of Books by Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne’s vivid imagination inspires her to write these wonderful adventures. She gains inspiration from her surroundings and turns everyday experiences into adventures for children. The Spider Kane mysteries are a mini-series consisting of two books full of adventure, suspense, kidnappings, and the insect world. In the Spider Kane mysteries Osborne brings insects to life by giving them a human touch.

The first book “Spider Kane and the Mystery Under the May-Apple” takes you on an adventure to solve the case of a missing butterfly. Leon, a butterfly, discovers that his new girlfriend Mimi has vanished. With the advice of his ladybug friends he contacts Spider Kane, the brilliant detective of the insect world. With the help of Spider Kane, Leon and his lady bug friends discover Mimi was kidnapped and work together to solve the mystery of Mimi’s secretive past and her kidnapping.

The next adventure Osborne takes you on is called “Spider Kane and the Mystery at Jumbo Nightcrawler’s.” Here you’ll discover more than one mystery blended into one. This exciting adventure is full of twists and turns as Spider Kane’s friends are kidnapped, ant’s gold is stolen, and disguised bugs surround them. It is not up to Spider Kane and his comrade Leon to solve the case and bring their friends home safely.
These two books are very similar because for one is the continuation of the other. Osborne has done an exceptional job writing these two mysteries. They both start off with one of the main characters, Leon, in a dilemma. Once he has realized this is a huge problem Leon goes to an expert, Spider Kane. In both books you can see the problem is explained in the beginning followed by details and clues helping you solve the case. Children can really enjoy reading while trying to solve the case before Spider Kane does. Osborne leaves clever clues for the reader to follow which makes both these books very exciting. Details are cared for in both books. Having read one after the other I saw that little details were attended to. Things like colors of people dresses, jewelry, feelings and emotions were all maintained in the sequel.

Ultimately there aren’t many differences because Osborne has maintained the same formula she used for the first one. The only difference would be the second book is more complex than the first. The mystery isn’t one fold like the first book there are many components to the second mystery. Aside from it’s complexity there are no major differences between the two books. I believe their similarity is a wonderful plus point to this series. The style is maintained throughout both books allowing the second to truly be a sequel. Unlike many other authors whose books in a series differs from one another Osborne is an expert series writers and is able to maintain the similarities.
Both books are written in a exceptional manner and are a great read. They were very entertaining and engross the reader. They're definitely good mysteries that children would take the utmost joy in reading and solving. Personally I enjoyed the second book much better than the first because of the thrill and excitement posted in the second one. The first one is a bit slow and more of an introduction to the characters. Whereas the second book is a marvelously written and full of twists and turns as any mystery should be. Overall I think Osborne has done a terrific job with these books as she does with her Magic Tree House books. Her creative imagination truly does take you on a unique trail with these books.
Biography of Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne is the creator/writer of Magic Tree house, Magic Tree House Merlin Missions, Magic Tree House Research Guides, Spider Kane Mysteries, Tales from the Odyssey and many other independent books. This popular author of the the Magic Tree House series, Mary Pope Osborne’s life is quite an adventure just like her books. By the age of fifteen she had moved seven times due to her father's military career. "Moving was never traumatic for me, but staying in one place was" said Osborne in regards to her constant moving as a child. She enjoyed moving and learning about new places. For her each move was an adventure that took her into another world. Osborne describes her childhood as being rich due to her imagination. Her and brothers would spend hours playing make believe games using their imagination. This attachment to imagination and creativity isn't something Osborne gained as an adult and children’s author rather something that developed in her as a child.

After graduating from college Osborne decided to do what she loved, travel. She spend some times living in a cave in Crete followed by her extensive travel to about 11 Asian countries. Her trip came to a sudden stop when she nearly lost her life in Katmandu. Osborne was hospitalized due to blood poising and returned to America after some treatment. After recovering from this unfortunate illness Osborne continued her journey and began experimenting with different careers. She's worked as a waitress, window dresser, medical assistant, travel consultant, bartender, acting teacher, and an editor for children's magazine. In between her career search Osborne met and married Will Osborne. The couple moved to New York City but Mary was still unsure about her career path in life. She didn’t know what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. It wasn't until one day while writing in her journal she began to write a story about a young girl in the South much like herself as a child. She began formulating an exciting story that later became her first novel called Run, Run Fast as You Can. From the day she began writing that story she’s never stopped. Writing that novel led her to realized that what she wanted to for the rest of her life was become a children’s author.

Mary Pope Osborne is one of the most popular children’s writers of our time. She explained at a conference that she had planned to write only about four books to the Magic Tree House series but when children wrote her letters asking for her to write more books and suggesting ideas for her future books she was overcome with happiness and continued her series. Today the Magic Tree House series has over
30 books. In all Osborne has written about 80 books in the past 24 years as an author.

Osborne believes in encouraging children’s creativity and imagination. She is dedicated to keeping her books such that they spark imagination amongst children. This is why her and her husband refuse to turn this series into a television show or movies. They believe Osborne’s books are a means of taking children on imaginary worlds. Using their creativity they’ve created a Magic Tree House musical which continues to spark children’s imagination and is a creative addition to the Magic Tree House family.

Osborne’s success came mostly from the Magic Tree House series but she feels she enjoyed writing the Spider Kane mysteries the most. In an attempt to overcome her fear of spiders Osborne began to research the insect and found herself standing in the middle of an idea for another series. She says she enjoyed working on these books a lot because they take you into the lives of insects who are as human as you and I are.

Her biggest support in her adventures is her husband and partner Will Osborne. She gets inspiration from everything around her. Before drafting her stories each new topic is researched intensely.
Osborne claims that about 70% of her efforts go into research and writing is only about 30%. Her love for adventures, imagination and writing helps her continue her journey as an author and contributes new ideas for new books.

For more information about Mary Pope Osborne Visit her
website. For additional information about how Osborne writes you can view this short clip and learn how she spends her days writing and researching. The internet has alot of information about this talanted writer including biographies, interviews, videos, etc...

Life and Times of Avi

Avi is an acclaimed and prolific writer for young children. He has written over 60 books in numerous different genres for different ages and ability levels. His life began in Brooklyn, New York in 1937 along with his twin sister, Emily. He was born Edward Irving Wortis and got the name Avi from his twins' attempts at pronouncing his name. Eventually, it would become his pen name and the only name he would use. Avi's father was a doctor and his mother a social worker and the entire family was very reading and writing centered. As a young student, Avi was talented in science and terrible in writing. His teachers would write on his papers that his writing was sloppy and unedited and that he should invest more time and care in his work. In interviews, Avi has discussed this problem which was later determined to be symptoms of dyslexia and the effect that the disability had on his thoughts about writing as a child. Even though Avi dealt with such a difficult disability he still loved and appreciated reading and writing. For almost every birthday and holiday Avi would receive books which he would rapidly devour and use to improve his own writing. Avi has been quoted as saying that, "I believe reading is the key to writing. The more you read, the better your writing can be." Avi's love of reading served him well as he was a shy child without much interest in sports. When he was a high school senior he made the decision to become a writer and he has given a few different reasons for this. He says that his desire to write began because writing was important to his friends, family and school and eventually it became important to him. He also wanted to prove that he could write even with his disability. As Avi grew older his love for writing grew as well. Though he did not take many english courses in college he did continue writing and even entered playwriting contests, one of which he won. His play was published and the University of Wisconson staged a production of it, so at just twenty-two years old Avi was a published playwright and on his way to becoming a writer. Avi had intended to become a playwright in Los Angeles until his first son, Shaun was born and Avi's path changed. Avi was approached by a friend to illustrate one of her children's books. His illustrations put him in contact with a publisher for whom he compiled bedtime stories he had told his son, into a book. The book, Things That Sometimes Happen was published in 1970, fifteen years after Avi had decided to become a writer and it marked the end of his days as a playwright and the beginning of his many years as an author for young people. Throughout his career Avi has met and interacted with many other authors including Jerry Spinelli, Betty Miles, and Natalie Babbitt. He was also the basis for the character Irvy in Betty Bao Lord's book In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. In 1991, Avi's book The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was named a Newberry Honor Book and the next year Nothing but the Truth was named as well. In 2003, Avi's fiftieth book, Crispin: The Cross of Lead was awarded the Newberry Medal. Avi has continued writing books for young people with his most recent book The Traitor's Gate being published in May of 2007. Avi also spends his time, when he is not at home in Denver, Colorado with his family, touring schools to talk to students about reading and writing and to talk to teachers about teaching writing. Visit his website for more information about the books he has written in his career and Reading Rockets for some interview clips.

Critical Analysis of Beverly Cleary

With Beverly Cleary realizing at such a young age that there weren't many relateable and interesting books for children to read, was the start of her journey to becoming one of the most popular authors of children's books for over the past 50 years. Throughout her life she has paid close attention and observed the many different details about the children and events in her neighborhood to use as the material she writes about, normal everyday kids.

Ramona Quimby is probably one of her most well known characters. Some would describe her as impossible or mistake her for being a bad kid. She is just a normal kid that tries to be independent and is curious which sometimes gets her into trouble. Due to the fact she is not perfect, nor tries to be, I think makes her an endearing character. In this book Ramona starts 3rd grade, gets to take the bus to school for the first time, makes new friends and encounters some embarrassing moments at school. Also her family goes through some ups and downs because her father has decided to persue his dream and return to college to become an art teacher. Trying to be supportive of this, Ramona also tries to be responsible and not cause any problems.....but how could her teacher call her a nuisance?

"It's a rare thing to be hailed by audience and critics alike. In Mrs. Cleary's case, everyone seems delighted." -The New York Times (on Ramona Quimby Age 8)

Dear Mr. Henshaw is about a character named Leigh Botts in the 6th grade that writes to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. It starts out as a school project but the unexpected response from Mr. Henshaw ends up teaching Leigh to learn how to deal with his feelings about the absence of his father, divorcing parents, being the new kid and a lunch bag thief, by writing.

"A first-rate, poignant story...a lovely, well crafted, three dimensional work." - The New York Times

The tones of both of these books are very different. Although Ramona deals with difficult situations such as embarrassing herself in front of the school by cracking an egg on her head or feeling hurt because she overhears her teacher calling her a nuisance, it is written lightheartedly. Despite these being important situations with Ramona, it seems that in the end everything always works out and has a happy ending. Leigh deals with very serious matters that children deal more and more with everyday now. His parents are divorcing and on top of that he is starting a new school. It's not enough that he already feels like he didn't see his dad that often because he's a cross country truck driver but now it's even less because he doesn't even live there anymore. There is a lot of emotions in this book and Leigh's story doesn't have a happy ending so to speak. You read of his continuous feelings of hurt by his dad leaving and not bothering to contact Leigh very often, acting like he doesn't care. Dear Mr. Henshaw is a sad read, not like that of Ramona Quimby Age 8 but after reading I can definitely understand why it won the John Newbery Medal.

At first glance and reading the back cover of these books one might think they were written by different authors as well. However, one thing both books do have in common is the underlying theme, growing up is difficult. This topic and many others that occur throughout her books makes her books relatable and very appealing to young readers. Although these two characters encounter very different things they both deal with feelings of hurt, disappointment and the stages of growing up. These books provide two very different points of view on how children can deal with problems but it is good because that would appeal to a wide range of readers. I think it might be challenging for Dear Mr. Henshaw to appeal to girls and vice versa but the theme could invite any reader to enjoy both books.

Another similarity between these two books would be the comedic tone present. Ramona is a very entertaining character that gets herself into blunders and deals with things with a very matter of fact attitude. The following are excerpts from both books to give an example of the comedic tone present in each.

Ramona Quimby Age 8-Ramona brought what she thought was a hard boiled egg in her lunch for school.
"There were a number of ways of cracking eggs. The most popular, and the real reason for bringing an egg to school, was knocking the egg against one's head. She took a firm hold on her egg, waited until everyone at her table was watching, and whack-she found herself with a handful of crumbled shell and something cool and slimy running down her face. Her egg was raw."

Dear Mr. Henshaw-Leigh hasn't heard back from the author he wrote to for a school assignment and impatiently writes another one.
"De Liver
De Letter
De Sooner
De Better
De Later
De Letter
De Madder
I Getter"
- Sincerely, Leigh Botts

Both of these examples demonstrate the consistant humor Beverly Cleary uses regardless of the book. Reading both of these books, you witness Beverly Cleary's wide range of writting skills, which would contribute to the reason why she has such a huge audience. Sadly, I heard in an interview that Beverly Cleary would not be writing any more books but thankfully she has left us with many stories to read for future generations as well.

For some fun try playing a game of Dear Mr. Henshaw Jeopardy at:

Or a trivia game on Ramona:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Critical Analysis of Judy Blume

Every writer seeks to produce a memorable contribution to literature. In addition to the many challenges presented throughout the
writing process, in some ways, the successful completion of a piece of literature is the smallest in a series of feats. Writers are then met with the challenges of sustaining career longevity while creating fresh, original storylines and characters with each new endeavor. Judy Blume is no exception to this challenge. What is remarkable, however, is the fluidity Blume employs when approaching a new book, with its own distinctive theme.

There are many Judy Blume books to choose from, however two that provide a strong example of this, are Judy's books: Iggie's House and the very well known and lovable, Superfudge. Superfudge, is one in a series of Judy Blume books, following the life and adventures of Peter Hatcher and his younger brother Farley Drexel Hatcher, better known as Fudge. Judy has professed in many an interview that she tends to begin a new book at the pivotal moment that something changes in the life of the central character. In Superfudge, twelve year old Peter Hatcher is introduced to a world of change when his family announces they will be moving from New York city to New Jersey while his father attempts to write a book, and that his mother is pregnant with a new baby sister. Among the changes Peter faces, are those children face with the prospect of a new school and leaving the safety of a known entity, as was Peter's life in New York city. Adding to the mix of an already terrifying situation for Peter Hatcher, are the ongoing antics of his brother, Fudge, as he struggles to acclimate to family changes and a new environment. Peter finds himself having less time to devote to his own struggles, as most of the time, he winds up having to rescue Fudge from the newest mess he has made, and explain the ins and outs of change to his little brother.

Superfudge, is an example of one of Judy Blume's most recognized abilities to see the world of a child through a child's eyes. By means of this ability, she is able to speak to the issues children face as central and of utmost importance, as well as to reflect on how the decisions sometimes deemed trivial by adults, can deeply affect the lives of children. One of the ways she achieves this, is by writing in a manner reflective of everyday speech, specifically children's speech, and setting the stage of action in each chapter around everyday 'stuff', as she does in the first scene from Superfudge:

Life was going along okay when my mother and father dropped the news. Bam! Just like that!

From there, the reactions of the central character, Peter, are much as any child's would be, instead of excitement, he responds to the news of a new baby, with complete disdain. For the the few issues that are presented in Superfudge, it is primarily a lighthearted, comedic story about adjusting to change and the upside to new beginnings in life. This comedic lightheartedness is one of the book's many strengths, and also one of its few limitations. For all the laughs the reader will get at Fudge's expense, the storyline occasionally lacks any and all direction, becoming more of a snapshot into the everyday life of a family. For many readers, this serves to be a point of interest, for others, such as myself, it allows all too much room for the reader's interest level to fizzle. Though the chapter lengths in Superfudge assist with shifting the readers interest, the overall length of the book might benefit from being shorter.

Another strength of the book is the ever encourable, Fudge. He is depicted as a fun-loving, quirky and inquisitive menace. However, for as enjoyable as the messes Fudge makes are to read, there are some instances where the wrong message could be conveyed to young readers. Blume devotes an entire chapter to Fudge's first introduction to kindergarten and and his kindergarten teacher. The title of the chapter is: Farley Drexel Meets Rat Face. From the title alone, it is clear that Fudge's first impressions of his teacher are not favorable, and in the chapter itself, Fudge acts out when placed in a foreign situation. His brother, Peter, is brought in to intervene and remedy the situation. In an effort to avoid his teacher, Fudge has perched himself above the shelves of the cubby holes in his classroom and refuses to come down until his demands are met. To accomplish the task of getting Fudge down, this chapter concludes with the transferring of Fudge to another classroom where he might have full reign, per his demands.

Fudge climbed down to the top of the cubbies, and Mr. Green reached up and lifted him the rest of the way down.

"Good-bye, Farley Drexel," Mrs. Hildebrandt said.

"Good-bye, Rat Face," Fudge said to her.

I gave him an elbow and whispered,"You don't go around calling teachers Rat Face."

"Not even if they have one?" he asked.

"Not even then." I said.

Clearly, as a reader can extrapulate through this chapter, this scene is particularly comedic in nature, but not necessarily the best of examples as to how to respect adults or behave in new social situations. Such, are examples were the book's very strengths also serve as its primary weaknesses. The book is effectively designed with the purpose to engage children in a playful read with which they can relate on an everyday level. The book does not strive to make a political statement, preach morality, or establish a code of ethics. It is quite simply a book about 'being', and Judy Blume does 'being' very well.

An interesting meeting would take place between the character, Fudge and Winnifred Barringer, the central character in Judy Blume's novel Iggie's House. In contrast to Superfudge, Iggie's House is a book about what happens when just 'being' is no longer simple, and the challenges overcome the everyday. Judy Blume successfully depicts the most ordinary, sheltered suburban neighborhood. The house on Grove Street belonged to Winnie's best friend Iggie, and was a place of refuge for Winnie, one where she could explore her own ideas and be heard as an adult. Determined to keep the legacy of Iggie's house alive, she sets her sights on welcoming and befriending the Garbers, the new family set to move in. The Garbers are the first black family to settle into an all white neighborhood, and Winnie discovers she is one of the only people eager to welcome them. Blume began writing Iggie's House in the late 1960's when racial tensions were high and cites that her own naivety on the issue was similar to that which she creates in Winnie.

In contrast to the flow of the book Superfudge, Iggie's House is a book with a resonating plot and a very distinct path down which it takes its readers. The book is a strong exploration of both sides of the racial coin, through the heartfelt experiences of children as opposed to the more prevalent issues involving adults at the time. Every neighborhood has the characteristics of Grove Street and into every neighborhood a little Mrs. Landon must fall. Mrs. Landon, better known to Winnie as Germs Incorporated, is the character Blume creates to encapsulate the role of ring master. Each neighborhood has its most vocal leader, and in this case, Mrs. Landon has always been the neighborhood's most outspoken proponent for change. However, as the book evolves, it becomes clear to the reader that the change Mrs. Landon hopes to make is one much like the sign she chooses to nail to the Garber's lawn that reads: Go back where you belong. We don't want your kind around here!

The dialogue used throughout the course of the book is an effective blend of a child's voice, as manifested through Winifred, that evolves and matures as Winifred begins to take in the various experiences she encounters through befriending the Garbers. The scene selection is also concise and effective, moving the reader through a series of events from introduction and friendship to later rifts and turmoil surrounding the choice to make a stand. Young readers can identify with the emotions Winnie experiences and through her, be guided towards peaceful and open minded resolutions. In contrast to the journey of Superfudge, Blume takes a stand in Iggie's House and emphasizes human compassion and understanding as most important.

Glenn read the sign in a hoarse and whispery voice, as if he needed to say it out loud to believe that it was real.


Mr. Garber grabbed the sign, yanked it out of the ground and broke it in half over his knee. Winnie felt her cheeks burning. She was shaking all over. "We're not all like that," she heard a small voice say. "We're not...we're not...we're not." She realized the voice as her own and that she was crying. She turned and fled, tears streaming down her face.

The success of this book, is its ability to bring an issue as complex as racial equality, to the forefront in a way that pertains to us all. There exists an innately universal quality to the sentiment expressed by Winnie in this scene. At one time or another, most people have encountered some type of situation in which they felt much like Winnie does here. The limited weakness the book encounters at certain turns is the loss of the storyline to the enormity of the issue of race. At various points, it becomes difficult to separate the story of a girl named Winnie and her new friends the Garbers, or to identify an alternate theme, from that of the central one taking place about race.

Despite the weighty issue at the heart of Iggie's House, the book is a welcomed departure from the typical book one has come to expect of Judy Blume. The same characteristics of comedic playfulness set against a similar theme of change and new friendships arise in Iggie's House as they do in Superfudge. Both books begin at a very pivotal juncture in a child's life---change. The central characters in both are strong willed, eclectic, and witty individuals struggling to adapt themselves to their world(s) and the other way around. Judy Blume takes her readers on two very unique journeys, each most definitely worth the trip.