Monday, March 3, 2008

Not So Tall for Six

Those of you who have met Maya recently know that she's a petite little girl. Sometimes Patty and I worry about her size, especially this last week as she's been losing a little weight due to illness. But we remind each other not to worry. She's a healthy little girl, and there's nothing wrong with being kind of small.

In honor of that I read to Maya Not So Tall for Six, by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Frank W. Dormer. Kylie Bell is the "not-so-tallest one in first grade." The family motto of her not-so-tall ancestors is "Brave and smart and big at heart." She struggles with being brave when a new bully joins the class-Rusty Jacks.

Kylie and Rusty have a couple of run-ins, but Kylie resists an opportunity to be really mean to Rusty. She's not sure what she will do about him, but when it becomes apparent that Rusty feels bad that he doesn't have any friends, Kylie Bell decides to do the bravest thing she knows how to do. Then she feels herself rise above the class, and she has a handy new pal.

The dialog and pictures have a southwest flair, with images of cowboys and rattlesnakes. The pacing of the story gets a bit unwieldy in the middle, but the ending is so rewarding, you won't mind.

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