Monday, March 10, 2008

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls

Cabot, Meg. 2008. Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Book 1: Moving Day. NY: Scholastic.

There seems to be a trend in recent years of making everything from movies, clothing, video games, and books available to ever younger audiences - think of the Nancy Drew you remember from childhood. Nancy Drew is now available in graphic novel format and for readers as young as 7 or 8 in the Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew series.

Meg Cabot has now entered into the children's department with the first in her new series, Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls, called Book 1: Moving Day.

The protagonist is 4th grader, Allie Finkle, who is somewhat reminiscent of Junie B. Jones.

"It wasn't the hugest surprise that Mom and Dad said we were moving. ... Dad has been teaching computers for a while now and recently got a chair. When you're a professor, getting a chair doesn't mean that you finally get to sit down at work. It means that you get more money."

With chapters named after "the rules," ranging from "Don't stick a spatula down your best friend's throat," to "When you do something wrong, always apologize (even if it's not entirely your fault)," Moving Day follows the trials and tribulations of this feisty 4th grader as she gradually adapts to the fact that she must leave her old friends, school and home.

The book started out slow for me, and I had trouble relating to Allie as someone other than an older version of Junie B., however, as the story progresses, the reader learns that Allie is insightful (but not beyond her age level), kind to her younger brothers, and deeply concerned about the welfare of animals - (see rule #12 - When you are setting a turtle free and people are chasing you, the best thing to do is hide).

This was not my favorite book for young readers, but I think that it will appeal to many young girls. Meg Cabot and Allie Finkle will likely have a devoted following for future installments.

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