Monday, May 7, 2012

Sadie and Ratz by Sonya Hartnett illustrated by Ann James

Hannah never goes anywhere without Sadie and Ratz. That's what she calls her hands. They're not animals, exactly, but they can be quite wild...particularly when they get annoyed by Hannah's brother. Then they like to attack! But Baby Boy is up to something. He draws on the wall and blames it on Sadie and Ratz. Then he tries to blame more things on Sadie and Ratz! Hannah's parents aren't happy, and neither is Hannah. How is she going to prove that she - and they - are innocent?

There's something startling about being so deeply in the mind of a young character. The way Hannah talks about Sadie and Ratz (her hands) as independent things completely out of her control made me wonder if maybe some sort of therapy wouldn't help her. It's hard to remember what it was like to be so young and have the bounds of reality and imagination slipping and blurring so quickly. Hannah is a bright, creative child and her parents definitely see and encourage her imagination. The antagonistic relationship that's between Hannah and her brother comes from a place of love and frustration - something many siblings can relate to. The expressive illustrations (I particularly love the characters' faces) and large simple - but not boring - text make this a great book for new readers and a great one to hand to older sisters.

See more about Sonya Hartnett at her website.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
The Boy and the Toy by Sonya Hartnett
Midnight Babies by Margaret Wild illustrated by Ann James

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