The Diary of Chickabiddy Baby

Emma Kallock, Author, Emma Kallok, Author
Emma Kallock, Author, Emma Kallok, Author Tricycle Press $4.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-883672-90-4
Hardcover - 128 pages - 978-1-883672-87-4
Prebound-Glued - 124 pages - 978-0-613-18577-6
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Debut author Kallok writes in the voice of a precocious and articulate 11-year-old (the author herself was 10 when she wrote the manuscript). In diary entries covering the summer before fifth grade, Prudence Brinker (""Prudence. Yuck. It reminds me of pudding. Tapioca pudding"") describes episodes from the dramatic to the quotidian. She agonizes over choosing between Austen, a classmate who affectionately, if not entirely believably, calls her ""Pudding Face"" (and eventually kisses her on the lips), and Jason, the flirtatious older boy who moves in across the street. One development that strains credibility somewhat is Pru's sudden shift in allegiance from her longtime best friend to Jason's sister. Yet Kallok's characterizations offset these leaps of logic and occasional overwriting (Prudence's grandmother speaks in ""a voice like leaves crunching beneath feet, sort of like a rattlesnake hiss""). Among the cast are Pru's outspoken, self-righteous, granola-munching maternal grandmother; her eccentric author father, who combats ""writer's rut"" by soaking in the bathtub fully clothed (""It helps him think""); and her flighty aunt (her mom's sister) who, on a visit from the nudist colony, meets the man of her dreams through a personal ad. Though the structure lacks the polish of a seasoned writer, Kallok's aspiring author peers will be encouraged by her effervescent kickoff. Ages 8-11. (Apr.)
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