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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dory Fantasmagory is an entertaining story drawn from a lot of real-life experience by author/illustrator Abby Hanlon, a former first-grade teacher. The first installment of a new chapter-book series, it features an intrepid 6-year-old who's about to go into first grade and doesn't let being the baby of the family slow her down. When her siblings ignore her, she fills the house with imaginary (mostly cute) monsters. (The opening page defines "FANTASMAGORY" as "a dream-like state where real life and imagination are blurred together.") Hanlon shows much understated empathy for the characters and what makes kids tick, from Dory's overactive imagination and nonstop energy to the long suffering of her sibs who just want to be left in peace. There are sweet lessons along the way about being part of a loving family. Dory's antics include stabbing her doctor with a lollipop stick as revenge for a shot. And some kids will relish the scene about poisoning a witch; others will find it troubling.
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What's the story?
Dory, better known as Rascal, is the baby of the family and wants her older sister and brother to play with her. But everything she does to get their attention just annoys them instead, especially when she starts populating the house with imaginary monsters, from her straight-out-of-Sendak BFF Mary to the toilet monster, who attacks you if you sit on the john too long. Her siblings' attempt to terrify her with an evil witch called Mrs. Gobble Gracker backfires badly as Dory takes on her new foe with gusto.
Is it any good?
DORY FANTASMAGORY is our introduction to hilarious, strong-willed, 6-year-old Dory, and it's an entertaining one. In words and pictures, Dory bedevils her older sibs with annoying demands for attention and enjoys a lively time with imaginary monsters, some friendly and others scary.
Author-illustrator and former first-grade teacher Abby Hanlon shows a lively understanding of the way kids really think, feel, and act, which will resonate with younger kids, older kids, and adults. Along the way there are many laughs, moments of new understanding -- and a few antics you probably don't want your kid imitating.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stories where kid characters have adventures with characters they've made up. Have you ever made up stories about your own adventures with imaginary friends? Were they fun or scary?
Do you think brothers and sisters who are different ages should figure out things they like to do together, or should each go his or her own way?
When you go to the doctor, do you act like Dory or do you do something else? What would you think if you were at the doctor's office and you saw a kid acting like that?
- Author: Abby Hanlon
- Illustrator: Abby Hanlon
- Genre: Family Life
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dial
- Publication date: October 9, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 6 - 8
- Number of pages: 160
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: ALA Best and Notable Books
- Last updated: October 22, 2019
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