Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review - Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?

Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? (Tales from Deckawoo Drive #3)
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Date: 2016
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Reading level: C
Book type: illustrated chapter book
Pages: 112
Format: e-book
Source: library

What if timid Baby Lincoln broke free of her bossy sister and set off on an unexpected journey? Kate DiCamillo presents a touching new adventure set in Mercy Watson’s world.

Baby Lincoln’s older sister, Eugenia, is very fond of telling Baby what to do, and Baby usually responds by saying “Yes, Sister.” But one day Baby has had enough. She decides to depart on a Necessary Journey, even though she has never gone anywhere without Eugenia telling her what to take and where to go. And in fact Baby doesn’t know where she is headed — only that she was entirely happy in the previous night’s dream, sitting aboard a train with a view of shooting stars. Who might Baby meet as she strikes out on her own, and what could she discover about herself? Will her impulsive adventure take her away from Eugenia for good?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I think this is my favourite book in the series yet! It has a cast of wonderful characters, a nice message, and an interesting story.

In both this series and the original Mercy Watson stories, Baby Lincoln always seems to be in the shadow of her older sister, Eugenia. We don't even know the poor woman's name, since Eugenia gave her the nickname "Baby" when she was little and it has stuck ever since. Eugenia is so forceful and bossy that Baby's become very good at just going along with whatever she says. So it's refreshing to see Baby step out of her big sister's shadow in this book and start to create a story of her own.

After having a dream about being on a train and seeing shooting stars, Baby gets fed up with Eugenia and her routines and decides to go on a Necessary Journey. She gets on a train with the help of Stella, the little neighbour girl, and begins her trip. Along the way, she meets a number of interesting people who each give her something that changes her life for the better. This culminates in her meeting a little boy named George and telling him a wonderful story about kings and pear trees and wolves.

Of course, being set in this universe, the story has to end with hot buttered toast (just like all the other books), but there's also a little epilogue that shows how much Baby's journey has changed her. The character development in this book is really good. (And, yes, we do get to find out Baby's real name!)

This is my favourite book of the Tales of Deckawoo Drive series so far, and maybe even my favourite set in the Mercy Watson universe (I'm still waiting to get my hands on Book #4 of the previous series, though, so I can't say for sure). The Tales of Deckawoo Drive books seem like they're for a slightly older audience than Mercy Watson; they have more pages, a lot more text, and tons of words that are going to have kids running to the dictionary. But I love how DiCamillo never shies away from challenging her readers, and I think these are great books to help foster a love of reading and splendiferous words.

Quotable moment:

The words of the story came to her without her thinking too much about what they should be. It was as if she were reading a book that already existed, telling a story that she already knew.

As she read, George leaned in closer and closer until, finally, he was leaning right up against her. He was warm. He smelled like peanut butter and construction paper.

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Pace: 5/5
Writing & Editing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.63 out of 5

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