Friday, April 18, 2008
A Little Grace
How would you like to be known as “Just Susan” or “Just Tom?” Within pages Charise Mericle Harper’s Grace series, her poor main character is christened “Just Grace,” simply because there are already four other Grace’s in her third grade class and her teacher is at a loss as to how to tell the girls apart. The others end up being called Grace W., Grace F., Gracie, leaving Just Grace to tie up things. The name sticks and the poor girl just can’t seem to escape her “just” status.
In the first book, nicely titled, Just Grace, Grace bounces around a lot, involving herself in a myriad of activities, from trying to solve the mystery of her neighbor’s missing cat, Crinkles, drawing comics of super heroes, and dealing with her nemesis, Sammy Stringer. The pages are filled with drawings and Grace’s little anecdotes, as well as the stray photograph or two. She is a busy girl, though always feeling as if she must prove herself or be better than expected, in order to outrank her “Just Grace” name. Grace has more than a few laugh out loud moments and had me chuckling on almost every page.
Boy, can I relate to Grace’s name dilemma! I was lucky enough to have been given the most popular name in the nation for something like 10 years in a row. Amanda. Did my parents even give me a cool middle name? Nope…Lynn. Amanda Lynn. Booorrring…. I definitely sympathize with Grace on that issue, though I guess I didn't realize how popular that name had become! As for the story, I definitely felt some Clementine and Ramona in the pages, which will make a lot of readers very happy. The drawings and photographs help to break up the story and I think young girls, especially those that like Junie B. Jones, Judy Moody, Amber Brown, Ramona, and Clementine will enjoy these books. Just Grace is the first installment, followed by Still Just Grace and finally Just Grace Walks the Dog.