Thursday, December 30, 2021

Book Review: Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (1951)

Ginger Pye is a Newbery-medal winning novel by Eleanor Estes, which follows the Pye children and their dog, Ginger, who mysteriously disappears shortly after they find her. 

I have read this book three times in my life and have yet to review it, mostly because I find it hard to put into words what I like about it. It's a long, slow-moving story about a dog, which sounds terrible, but is truly the opposite. The characters in this book are so well-crafted that they and their community come to life on the page. From siblings Rachel and Jerry to their three-year-old uncle, Benny, to the various townspeople who help them in their quest to find Ginger, the population of this book is memorable and delightful. The writing is beautiful, and it's just the kind of thing I loved as a kid: descriptions of people living their lives and doing ordinary things, thinking the kinds of thoughts that real kids think, and also, over time, solving a bit of a mystery. 

This is the perfect book for a young kid who reads far above grade level. The writing is beautiful and sophisticated but the content is truly appropriate for all ages and audiences. I've read the physical book and listened to the audiobook, and it's excellent in both formats. My kids, who have been as young as three when they've heard this story, have loved the Pye family, and have had no trouble following the details of the story, even if it is long. This is a Newbery favorite with definite staying power. 

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