Friday, April 17, 2020

Review - Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem

Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem (Tales from Deckawoo Drive #5)
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Date: 2020
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Reading level: C
Book type: illustrated chapter book
Pages: 96
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Metaphor alert! An ode to a certain pig kicks off one wild school day in Kate DiCamillo’s latest stop on Deckawoo Drive.

Stella Endicott loves her teacher, Miss Liliana, and she is thrilled when the class is assigned to write a poem. Stella crafts a beautiful poem about Mercy Watson, the pig who lives next door — a poem complete with a metaphor and full of curiosity and courage. But Horace Broom, Stella's irritating classmate, insists that Stella’s poem is full of lies and that pigs do not live in houses. And when Stella and Horace get into a shouting match in the classroom, Miss Liliana banishes them to the principal’s office. Will the two of them find a way to turn this opposite-of-a-poem day around? In the newest spirited outing in the Deckawoo Drive series by Kate DiCamillo, anything is possible — even a friendship with a boy deemed to be (metaphorically speaking) an overblown balloon.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I've really enjoyed most of the rest of the books in this series (and in the original Mercy Watson series). Kate DiCamillo's challenging-yet-accessible writing plays a large part in what makes these books a little bit different. While I enjoyed this one (being a fan of both series), I can't say that it was my favourite. I found the story a little on the weak side, and I wasn't a fan of the characters.

After Stella ends up in a shouting match with a classmate over whether or not pigs sit on couches, they're both sent to the principal's office. But when Horace chickens out and runs away, Stella goes after him, leading to both children getting locked in the supply closet where they face their fears and become friends.

There is plenty of challenging vocabulary in this book (which isn't unusual for a DiCamillo title), but here I found it a little off-putting in the way it was presented. I don't remember the hard words being explained by the characters in the other books (although, it's been a while since I read them, so maybe they were). I got a definite Fancy Nancy vibe here, especially when Horace kept spouting word definitions like an overzealous dictionary.

I'm not going to comment on the artwork, since I read an ARC and most of the pictures were roughly sketched placeholders. I can't foresee them being anything other than adorable, though, given Van Dusen's work on the other books in the series.

Overall, while this is a nice addition to the series, it's definitely not my favourite set in this world. I'd recommend it mostly to fans of Mercy Watson and her neighbours on Deckawoo Drive.

Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for providing a digital ARC.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing & Editing: 3/5
Illustrations: n/a
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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