Tuesday, March 3, 2009

All About Lilly

Chester's Way

My friend had recently asked me if I liked the "Lilly books" and said that she adored Lilly. I was interested and went and checked out the book, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. In the preview on the front dust jacket flap, it said that Lilly was the star of the book Chester's Way. I went right back and picked up Chester's Way to read first, and am glad I did. Lilly was definitely the STAR of the book, with her two friends Chester and Wilson always at her side. The three characters remind of me, my twin sister and our best friend since kindergarten. The three of us were inseparable, but each unique in our own little way. Lilly, Chester and Wilson are quite a group, but one thing's for sure...Lilly still shines! She always has on her bright red cowboy boots and yellow crown. It only makes sense that Henkes decided to feature Lilly in her own books.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

Before opening the book, we are immediately reunited with Lilly and her diva personality. The cover is filled with several different pictures of Lilly posing wearing her trademark yellow crown and sassy red cowboy boots. But there has been an addition made to her personal repertoire...Lilly is now carrying around a glistening, new purple purse. The beginning of the book was just as expected, Lilly was back in action. Only now, we get to see her at school, obsessing over her new spectacular teacher, dominating the classroom, and excited to show off her brand new purple purse and green movie star glasses. Things take an interesting turn when her beloved teacher, Mr. Slinger, takes away Lilly's purse for the day. Her emotional side is at once revealed and the reader gets to see a different side of her.

I would read this book to young students for a couple reasons. First off, I am confident that children will fall in love with Lilly and be quite amused by her character. Second, the book represents how writing can be used as a way to express one's feelings, something that children need to be introduced to at a very young age. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that it is right for kids to write insulting letters to their teachers. I'm focusing on the bigger picture. Lilly's first letter conveyed her strong feelings about what happened in school and revealed how much the purse meant to her. After Lilly went home and thought about what she had done, she turned to writing again. This time she wrote a story about Mr. Slinger indicating how sorry she was and even included illustrations. As a future teacher, I really value this book and think it could be used to teach multiple lessons.

Lilly's Big Day

That's right. I couldn't get enough of Lilly and had to go back for more. This book is hilarious and brought me right back to my childhood. As soon as Lilly catches wind of it that Mr. Slinger is going to get married, her wheels start spinning and there is only one thing on her mind...She must be the flower girl! I wouldn't expect anything less from Lilly. She is driven and determined to get what she wants. I can remember dreaming of getting to be a flower girl when I was little. I recall begging my uncle to please get married so that I could be the flower girl in his wedding. My wish didn't come true, unfortunately.

This book did not disappoint. What would Mr. Slinger's wedding have been like without Lilly there as the center of attention? This book made me really appreciate Henkes' talents as an illustrator. His detail is outstanding and every page is filled with his lively, playful illustrations.

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