Frances Thomas, Author , illus. by Sally Gardner. Delacorte $14.95 (96p) ISBN 0-385-72902-2

"This is my Running Away Diary," writes the disgruntled Polly, who declares she likes nothing—and hates everything—about her life. Her hamster has run away, her best friend Kelly has a new best friend, her sister is irritating ("because… she is three") and her pregnant mother is preoccupied and always tired ("Who wants a new baby anyway—not me!!!"). As her thoughts careen and collide, the impassioned child updates her reports on her varying stashes of "Running Away Money" and food for her journey ("So far I have got 75p and one Double Decker candy bar); shares snippets of information she has learned in school about Tudor England (mostly, that people "threw their poo out of the windows"); and comically complains, as in a listing of annoying things about Kelly. The young journalist's frequent Briticisms enhance the appeal of her snappy monologue, but what kids may like even better are Gardner's collage-like illustrations. Generous margins feature a jaunty jumble of photos and childlike drawings, candy bar wrappings, clip art and more—like the voluble heroine, the pages themselves suggest high energy and high spirits. Ages 7-10. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/03/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
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