After reading a few heavier titles, I wanted to take a quick swing through some Middle Grade. Having finished my last book on a Friday, and knew I'd be in the library on Monday, I went through my To-Read shelf and pulled out a book that's been there 17 years. I figured it sort of fit with my Alice readings from last year. I was glad I picked it up.
Alice in Blunderland by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2003)
Alice is 9 years old, and one thing she knows for sure is that being in fourth grade is very, very hard. Having an older teenage brother that tells you lies because you are gullible and trusting is also very hard. Having lost your mother when you were too young to remember isn't hard, it's just unfair. If all of that wasn't difficult enough, being prone to making embarrassing mistakes makes being 9 years old practically impossible.
Best known for Shiloh, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has been a fixture in Middle Grade fiction for decades. This book is one of several prequels to her beloved Alice series. I wanted to read it as part of my Alice in Wonderland exploration, though I knew this was related by title only. But like "Alice", Naylor's Alice is an intelligent, curious, and wonderful character.
For younger readers, this book is an affirmation that the difficult and embarrassing things that happen to you, happen to everyone. For adult readers, especially parents, it's a reminder of how trying it is to grow up and what a struggle it can be to come to terms with life.