cover image The World According to Kaley

The World According to Kaley

Dian Curtis Regan, . . Darby Creek, $14.99 (112pp) ISBN 978-1-58196-039-6

Regan's (Chance ) spry novel takes the shape of a notebook collecting an independent-minded fourth grader's writing assignments for world history class. Aspiring writer Kaley has no interest in recording facts or staying on topic, preferring to put her own spunky spin on historical periods and events. Ranging from silly to wry, her frequent asides and embellishments will likely make kids chuckle. Among the comic morsels Kaley offers is her essay on the Middle Ages: in sixth-century northern Europe, "Everyone had the same name: Frank. For this reason, we call their civilization 'The Franks' "; and monasteries had libraries, which is "the good news. The bad news is that all the books were written by hand. If you wanted a copy, you had to write the book all over again." In a creative bit of revisionist history, Kaley tells how the Wright sisters masterminded the design and construction of the renowned flying machine but, concerned about their safety and about mussing their velvet dresses, decided to let their brothers do "the daredevil deed." Her teacher comes across as patient but firm, and Kaley's diverting digressions touch upon her new baby brother (she had hoped for a girl), the puppy she wants her teacher to adopt and her uncle, who can't find a publisher for his book on how to get a book published. Readers won't find many reliable historical facts here, but they will discover a scribe with a lively sense of humor. Ages 9-up. (Oct.)