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FICTION

Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem

Candlewick. (Tales from Deckawoo Drive: Bk. 5). Jun. 2020. 96p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781536201802.
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Gr 1-3–The fifth installment of Kate DiCamillo’s beloved “Tales from Deckawoo Drive” series. After a three-year hiatus, young readers will be thrilled to reunite with their favorite characters and improve their reading skills with DiCamillo’s clear, crisp prose. Stella Endicott is a bright and determined student, so when her teacher Miss Liliana asks the class to write a poem using a metaphor, she rises to the task. Horace Broom, however, is not impressed; he questions the quality of her work. Stella becomes indignant and before she knows it, the two of them get sent to the principal’s office for arguing. Consumed by fear, Horace runs away from the office with Stella right behind him until they get locked in the janitor’s closet. They discover they have more in common than they thought and become unexpected friends. This book maintains the charming and whimsical narrative style that has made the “Tales” series a gold standard for early reader books. DiCamillo regularly uses advanced vocabulary and seamlessly weaves word definitions into the plot. With metaphor as a primary concept, this text could easily be used in a classroom curriculum. Van Dusen’s illustrations are delightful as always, and enhance the story with their humorous and exaggerated quality.
VERDICT An engaging and high quality book for young students that will appeal to reluctant and advanced readers alike.

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