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Dory Fantasmagory
2014
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CHAPTER 1 My name is Dory, but everyone calls me Rascal. This is my family. I am the little kid. My sister's name is Violet and my brother's name is Luke. Violet is the oldest. Violet and Luke never want to play with me. They say I'm a baby. "Mom! Rascal is bothering us!" "What is she doing?" calls my mother. All summer long, whenever I try to play with Luke and Violet, they say, "PLEASE LEAVE US ALONE!" Well, I'm not going to leave. But I can't think of what to say, so I ask questions. Any question I can think of. "I can't wait for school to start so we can get a break from Rascal!" says Violet. "Me too!" grumbles Luke. "Don't talk about school!" I cover my ears. I never want summer to end. I like to stay home in my nightgown instead of getting dressed for school. "It's a winter nightgown," says Violet. "And it's inside out," says Luke. "And it's backwards," says Violet. "So what?" I say. "So, now that you turned six, you need to stop acting like such a baby!" "Why do you always call me a baby?" I complain. "Because you talk to yourself," says Violet. "And you have temper tantrums," says Luke. "And you play with monsters," says Violet. Talk to myself? I have no idea what they are talking about. I never talk to MYSELF. I talk to my friend Mary. No one can see her except me. Mary always wants to play with me. She thinks I'm the greatest. At night, Mary sleeps under my bed. During the day, Mary follows me around. She wants to do whatever I'm doing. I usually don't mind, but sometimes I have to tell her no. "Okay. Mary, what do you want to play?" I ask. Here are some things Mary likes to do: Excerpted from Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
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  New York Times Review

Many series for fledgling readers feature mischievous girls and their gradeschool exploits: Ramona Quimby, Junie B. Jones and Clementine, to name a few. Others, like the Magic Treehouse books, send children on fantasy adventures. Abby Hanlon's marvelous Dory Fantasmagory series, featuring the plucky heroine Dory, also known as Rascal, combines the two. As Dory herself puts it: "My two worlds swirl together like a chocolate and vanilla ice cream cone. Real and unreal get mixed up in one crazy flavor." On every page, Hanlon's charming illustrations - if you squint, they resemble a child's drawings - mix things up as well, interweaving layers of visual and narrative storytelling to invite us in to Dory's active imagination. The fourth and latest book in the series, DORY FANTASMAGORY: Head in the Clouds (Dial, $15.99, ages 5 to 8), will have fans rejoicing that Hanlon's hybrid formula is still going strong. Dory faces obstacles both mundane and enchanted, and surmounts them all. She dumps an objectionable winter coat and de vises a pretend game to captivate a weepy friend. After losing her first tooth, she recognizes the Tooth Fairy, shopping incognito, and chases her through a grocery store. And in perhaps her greatest triumph in the series so far, she foils the evil plan of her imaginary nemesis, Mrs. Gobble Gracker, to take over that benevolent spirit's nightly visits. Throughout the series, Dory deals with conventional problems - handling scornful older siblings, starting school, making friends, learning to read - in unconventional ways. In the first book, she faces her kindergarten fears by inventing Mrs. Gobble Gracker, an even more intimidating foe. With her looming stature and witchy features, she recalls James Marshall's illustrations of Miss Viola Swamp, "the meanest substitute teacher in the whole world," in "Miss Nelson Is Missing," by Harry G. Allard Jr. Dory's everyday world is populated with other magical and comic figures, like Mary, her monster, and Mr. Nuggy, her (male) fairy godmother. And while many stories for children send their protagonists back to the real world for good - Wendy grows up and can't return to Neverland; Lucy leaves Narnia; Jackie Paper abandons Puff the Magic Dragon - Hanlon does not champion maturity as the answer to adversity. A former first-grade teacher, she recognizes the value of coping strategies that are particular to children. Rascal becomes resilient, resourceful and adventurous thanks to the permeable boundary between reality and fantasy, not in spite of it. "Try not to imagine things," Dory's sister, Violet, tells her when she heads off to kindergarten. But it is Rascal's imagination that allows her to adapt to new surroundings, practice new skills and make new friends. In "Head in the Clouds," Hanlon once again shows an unerring sense of what distresses children (that "bunchy" winter coat), what excites them (candy canes discovered in pockets), and what they fear (a tooth fairy delivery gone astray). There is, as always, much to laugh over. We see Luke's and Violet's frustrated memories of life with infant Dory. We learn the contents of the Tooth Fairy's purse (like Beyoncé, she carries a certain condiment). And we get Mrs. Gobble Gracker's withering assessment of "Where the Wild Things Are": "I'll show them terrible teeth." When Dory loses her first tooth, her doleful friend Melody sobs, "It means you are growing up!" The admiring reader earnestly hopes not yet. ?

  Publishers Weekly Review

Dory's nickname, "Rascal," is an immediate tip-off to the six-year-old's personality, but there's more to Dory than just being a spitfire. To combat her older siblings' refusal to play with her because she's a "baby," Dory conjures up Mary, a monster friend who appreciates her incessant questions, like "Why do we have armpits?" and "What is the opposite of sandwich?" Dory's pestering leads Luke and Violet to tell her that 507-year-old Mrs. Gobble Gracker, "who robs baby girls," is looking for her. This sets Dory's imagination spinning, leading to the appearance of the vampiric Mrs. Gobble Gracker and the gnomelike Mr. Nuggy, who introduces himself as her fairy godmother. Reality and fantasy combine hilariously in a story that, at heart, is about a girl who wants little more than to spend time with her brother and sister. Hanlon's (Ralph Tells a Story) loosely scrawled illustrations, speech balloons, and hand-lettering are an enormous part of the story's humor, channeling Dory's energy and emotions as emphatically as the narration. Time spent with Dory is time well spent. Ages 6-8. Agent: Ann Tobias, A Literary Agency for Children's Books. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-Six-year-old Dory has a very fantasmagory imagination, much to the dismay of her two older siblings. Summer break has begun and the multiple, pesky attempts by Dory to join in the family fun are repeatedly rejected. Exasperated, Violet and Luke conspire to teach Dory a lesson; they invent the terrifying 507-year-old Mrs. Gobble Gracker who steals baby girls and is now looking specifically for Dory! However, with the aid of her (invisible) friends-Mary and Mr. Nuggy, the fairy godmother-Dory thwarts their plan and disguises herself. Hanlon's whimsical story about the antics of a youngest child who finally convinces her siblings that sometimes it can be fun to pretend is sure to resonate with young children.and their families. Suzy Jackson provides excellent narration, especially as mischievous Dory and her pushed-to-the-limits mother. VERDICT A fine choice for all collections.-Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
Move over, Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean! Here comes a lovably energetic little sister with a BIG personality--and an imagination to match! <br> <br> As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she's too much of a baby for them, so she's left to her own devices--including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, moving into the closet, and exacting revenge on her sister's favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for.<br> <br> With plenty of pictures bursting with charm and character, this hilarious book about an irresistible rascal is the new must-read for the chapter book set.
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