My five-year old granddaughter Juliet and I have a new favorite book called Mercy Watson to the Rescue. The title was appropriate the first time we read it. We were on the last half hour of our 200-mile drive to Pismo Beach. We’d listened to all eight books on tape and finished our deviled egg sandwiches and carrot sticks. Juliet didn’t want to play the alphabet game anymore and asked if I would read to her. So I got out Kate DiCamillo’s book and started reading aloud. We were engaged immediately.
The cover illustration is a cute pig that looks like a piggy bank running full speed across a lawn. Juliet loved the story and I loved Chris Van Dusen’s illustrations, which reminded me of vintage cartoons. DiCamillo has a wry sense of humor, uses sophisticated language and has such clever plots you can’t help but smile. Mercy Watson to the Rescue is the first in a series of five books about a pig who is the center of attention at the Watson home at 52 Deckawoo Drive. Mr. and Mrs. Watson consider their precious pig a “porcine wonder” and cater to her every whim, which includes preparing her tall stacks of “hot toast with a great deal of butter.”
The characters are continued in the next book, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, which is equally entertaining and has a delightfully different plot. Juliet and I both laughed out loud at the predicament that Mercy gets into when she decides to take the wheel of Mr. Watson’s car. The Lincoln sisters, Eugenia and her younger sister Baby, live next door and get involved in each story as do Ned and Lorenzo from the fire department.
Juliet asked me to read them over and over during the week. One morning we fixed ourselves a piece of “toast with a great deal of butter” and munched on it as we re-read the story. The language is so engaging we found ourselves repeating some of the phrases throughout the week. One day while we were driving Juliet piped up with “He’s a menace behind the wheel!” and “What folly!”
Newberry medalist DiCamillo is a great storyteller. You may recognize another of her books Because of Winn-Dixie, which was made into a movie in 2005. She’s written a series of chapter books, which are described on her website. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did. If you grandmas have any favorite books you read to your grandchildren, please send me the titles.