Thursday, October 22, 2009

Callie's Rules


Zucker, Naomi. 2009. Callie's Rules. Egmont USA. 225 pages.

Calliope Jones?"
There it is--my name, my very own name, a name that only a mother like mine would bestow on an innocent baby. I can't even blame my fate on a wicked fairy godmother. It was all my mother's doing. My father wanted to call me Jane. But no, it had to be Calliope. I was doomed at birth.


What did I like about this one? The Jane-Eyre loving heroine Calliope Jones. She's slightly stubborn. Not in a completely inappropriate way. But just enough of her own spirit to make things interesting. (For example, her stubbornly refusing to read Lorna Doone because it was boring, and instead rereading Jane Eyre. Of course, this backfires, as you might imagine, because her English teacher isn't that stupid and can tell a fake when she sees one.)

What is this one about? Well, it's about Halloween. One small town's struggle over this 'dangerous' holiday. Should the town ban Halloween? Should they create a holiday of their own? Should the town dictate what costumes are allowed to be worn? Should the town dictate what displays on lawns and porches are acceptable? Should the town dictate what 'treats' are good, and which are bad?

Of course, the book is about much more than that. It's about individuality versus conformity. It's about being yourself, knowing yourself, accepting yourself. It's about friendship too. Callie and her best friend may be growing apart. Can her friend learn to love Callie as she is? Or will her friend choose to go with a new crowd? It's about family as well. Learning to love and appreciate your family for what they are and not focusing on what they're not.

This one is an interesting book--in a way--for me. I've never been one to celebrate Halloween. I grew up in a family that does view it as 'evil.' (And I never even once felt deprived, by the way.) But the weird thing for me is even though I agree with 'the enemy' in this one. I don't agree with their tactics. Not even a little bit. It's one thing for a concerned parent (or two) to say to their own children, you will not do this or that. To keep their children from going trick or treating. To keep their children from attending parties and parades and such. To not allow their kids to dress up in costumes, etc. But to start dictating what every family in the community can and can't do. That's just so wrong it's pathetic.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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