FRIDAY BOOK FEATURE – AUTHENTIC CHARACTERS AND REAL ISSUES
by Dee White - October 1st, 2010
Today on Friday Book Feature we’re looking at two wonderful books for young readers by Marianne Musgrove. These simply told stories feature well drawn characters facing very real problems for this age group.
As Lucy discovers in Lucy The Lie Detector, one lie can lead to another and before you know it you’re enmeshed in a world of deceit.
First there’s the scratch on Dad’s new car then there’s the escaping guinea pig. Lucy digs herself in deeper and deeper until finally it’s time to tell the truth.
I love the authenticity of this book. As Lucy gets herself into more and more trouble the reader is carried along with her, wanting her to tell the truth, wanting everything to turn out okay.
It’s a book that introduces children to the concept of choices and the consequences of the things we do.
Lucy The Lie Detector also delves into the world of an adults definition of truth and the confusion this can cause for a child.
Why is it not okay for a child to lie but it’s okay for one parent to fib to another about eating chocolate or forbidden cake? As Marianne Musgrove points out in Lucy The Lie Detector, it’s hardly surprising that children become confused.
Lucy The Lie Detector raises important issues, but in a non-preaching and non-confrontational way. Lucy is a great character who readers will empathise with and there’s also plenty of humour to lighten the more intense moments.
Juliet is a little girl with a lot of worries. She’s only ten but it seems like it’s up to her to solve everything – her parents fighting and her Nana’s upset about growing old.
Juliet copes with the stress in her life by making lists and trying to be grown up, but she can’t stop the nervous rash or the churning in her tummy.
When Juliet moves to Nana’s old bed room, she discovers the Worry Tree underneath the wallpaper. That’s where Nana used to hang up her troubles for the night when she was a little girl.
Now the animals in the Worry Tree are there to help Juliet. There’s Wolfgang the Wombat to take care of the stress caused by her two best friends fighting over her, there’s Petronella the Pig who takes care of worries about school, Gwyneth the Goat who looks after her when she’s sick, Dimitri the Dog who looks after family worries, Piers the Peacock who is the guardian of worries about ‘lost’ things and the hole in the trunk for the worries you can’t describe.
All the characters in The Worry Tree are wonderfully authentic and Marianne Musgrove clearly has a deep understanding of the concerns and fears experienced by children this age.
Marianne’s publisher, Random House has provided a downloadable Worry Tree so that readers can find a place to hang their worries.