Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes

Ginger Pye (Young Classic)Title: Ginger Pye
Author: Eleanor Estes
Pages: 320
Published: 2000 Sandpiper (orig.1951)
Read For: School--Aloud to my kiddos
My Rating: 3 stars

Ginger Pye won the Newbery Award in 1952.  It looked like such a happy puppy dog story that I was looking forward to reading it aloud to my kiddos.  Unfortunately, we were all disappointed to find that this book, while using Ginger as an anchor, is more about the rambling thoughts and activities of two well-adjusted siblings.  Jerry and Rachel get along wonderfully, and are proud of the fact that their mother is the youngest mother in town, and their father is a famous "bird man".  Much of the book is taken up by the search for Ginger after she is stolen, and is filled with happy little detours exploring the town and explaining their thoughts.

The book is not without its charms.  It was nice to read a book filled with happy people, however unrealistic that may be.  There are many things in the book that recall a different era in small town American life, although many of those things are more confusing than they are endearing.  Better choices on that regard are, in my opinion, Mr. Popper's Penguins (Newbery Honor 1939), Miracles on Maple Hill (Newbery 1957), Gone Away Lake (Newbery Honor 1957) and Thimble Summer (Newbery 1939).

If you approach Ginger Pye as an introduction to the Pye family and the bygone times and town they lived in rather than a cute puppy story, I'm guessing you'll have a better chance at liking it.  Don't be in a hurry to get through, because it really takes its time.  My kids thought it boring, although I wouldn't be surprised if--at some point--they remember it fondly.

3 comments:

  1. I own this book but haven't read it, but I figured it was all about the cute dog!!! So thanks for the heads up! Great review!

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  2. I own it as well but haven't read it. I have liked the other books I have read by Estes though so I'm (still) looking forward to it.

    I just recently read Miracles on Maple Hill and LOVED it! I'll have to check out the others you have recommended here.

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  3. We're listening to this in the car right now and enjoying it. I find that sometimes we enjoy "slower" books more this way, my son often will listen more to a book that he might not listen to if I was reading it aloud. I get him to listen to a lot of "girly" books this way and then he finds he actually likes them.

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