by Katherine Hannigan. (Greenwillow, 2009. ISBN 9780061626548. Order Info.) Chapter Book. 112 pages. Grades 1-3.
This chapter book uses a sweet approach to tell a cautionary tale of a town that doesn't allow any messiness. The language is playful, even silly, and the tender watercolor illustrations keep the tone light even while broaching a serious topic.
Emmaline lives in Neatasapin where tidiness has been decreed by the mayor and taken to extremes. Children are not allowed to hop, jump puddles, skate board or chew bubble gum. Babies' diapers must be equipped with alarms that beep when they are dirty. Houses and yards must be quiet and spotless.
But Emmaline loves to dig in the dirt and jump and shout "Dinglederrydee!" Her kind parents understand her exuberance but also want to help her follow the rules.
Emmaline desperately wants a wild bunny but they're messy and need a bit of wilderness -- not these manicured yards. Her passion to find and provide safety for a wild rabbit brings her, her family and eventually her whole town through a transformative experience.
The writing is full of creative word usage and begs to be read aloud. A charming gem of a book.
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