My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I always think it’s a good sign when I pick up a book and know exactly whom I’m going to recommend this to. I also think it’s a really good sign when I flick to a page at random, and I can hear myself squeak with joy.
This is the effect My Totally Secret Diary : On Stage in America by Dee Shulman had on me. It’s part of a series but reads equally well by itself. Polly Price (she *REALLY* doesn’t want you to know what her first name actually is!) is forced to go to America when the play her mother’s appearing in opens in San Francisco. And, luckily enough for us, she decides to keep a diary chronicling the experience.
This book is brilliant. Utterly gorgeously brilliant. I loved it so much. It reads like a mashup of Lauren Child and Alex T Smith, with a Diva mother thrown in to the mix. I can’t get over how much I loved it. It features mean girls (who get their very satisfactory comeuppance), and actors and PANCAKES.
As you can see from the sample illustration, text and drawings are interwoven and play a counterpoint to each other throughout the entire book. I loved how dynamic the illustrations were, they’re colored and drawn in an incredibly vibrant and kind of gloriously silly exuberance. What’s also of particular interest (and I LOVE THEM FOR THIS) is that the book doesn’t stop and start in the actual pages, the endpapers and the front and back cover are used perfectly. The design of this book is conceptually superb.
I’d recommend this book to pre-teen girls and those who love Lauren Child, the Alice-Miranda books and the Claude Series. It’s perfect for those as well who may be intimidated by a more textually ‘solid’ book as the illustrations and artwork provide a brilliant opportunity to break up the reading.
This made my jaw drop with utter pleasure and glee. I can’t wait to pass it on.