Kirsty Knows Best

Annalena McAfee, Author Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $8.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-394-89478-2
Kirsty's inveterate daydreaming affords her respite from the circumstances of her daily life: a shrill-voiced mother with a menial job, an unemployed father and the merciless taunts of the class bully Nora. Kirsty imagines herself a princess, her mother a famous singer, her father a brilliant scientist; and she fantasizes that Nora puffs up into a frog and explodes, while Kirsty, as a butterfly, sails above. By itself, McAfee's text is solid but unremarkable fare. But with Browne's artistry, the book soars. Visually contrasting the drabness of Kirsty's everyday existence with the brilliance of her fantasies is only the beginning. As Kirsty begins to daydream, her classroom takes on nuances of a fantastical place; the distinctive shape of Nora's pigtailed head is suggested in many scenes, illustrating Kirsty's preoccupation with her. It is the very subtlety of such details, and Browne's concomitant avoidance of the obvious or heavyhanded, that renders this an unusually provocative examination of the power of imagination to transform reality and of the frequent blurring of the two. Ages 7-11. (March)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-394-99478-9
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