Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy...

How I Heard About It:  I'm not exactly sure how I first heard about this title, but I believe it was on Twitter.  Then when I was at the Donalyn Miller workshop a couple weeks back, the title was brought up.  I decided to give it a try.  I actually used a new app called 3M Cloud Library and checked out the book via my local library right onto my iPad.  I'm trying to use the library more and not buy all the books I read.

What It Is About:  Willowdean is the fat girl in school.  It isn't just the other kids that say this, but she owns it herself.  She has made high school work partly because of her best friend Ellen.  Ellen has the "looks" but this doesn't bother Will.  She knows her place in their relationship.  Will takes a job at the local fast-food restaurant where she meets Bo.  He went to the private school and was a compete jock.  Willow knows she has no chance with him.  Bo ends up surprising Will and the people around her.  With this new attention from him, Willow isn't quite sure how to handle it.  She ends up retreating and spending more time with other kids at school.  She gains the attention of another boy at school, but she doesn't have the same feelings toward him as she does Bo.  To take her mind off all this "relationship" stuff, Willowdean decides to enter the local pageant that her mother is in charge of.  Not only does she enter, she brings three other girls with her that normally wouldn't enter a pageant.  During her preparation for the big event, Willow and Ellen have a falling out.  Life seems to get more and more complicated for Willowdean, but she just wants to be herself and find true happiness.

What I Thought Of It:  Reading the story of Willowdean was a complete pleasure.  I also enjoyed reading this via the new app on my iPad.  I know I will be "checking out" more books using the 3M Cloud Library.  I enjoyed how confident Willowdean was and that some of the "popular" boys could look beyond her body and like her for who she truly was.  The family dynamics Willow had with her mother and late aunt were also powerful moments to read about.  The courage that Will and her three new pageant friends had was heart-warming and encouraging.  Of course the suspense that built toward the big day of the pageant was engaging and made for a fast read.

Who Should Read It:  This is the perfect story for middle-school, high-school, and adult readers.  It may be more suited toward the female reader, but I think could also be enjoyed by male readers.  There are so many great lessons throughout the story and has much to teach our young readers in the world.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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