The trouble with girls is that they are prone to falling in love—and then they want to get married.
That can be a real issue if you are an early grade schooler like Jasper John Dooley, and an energetic, overbearing girl like Isabel decides she loves you. It makes it almost impossible to play dragon slayers during recess. The situation grows grimmer when Jasper’s mom arranges a play date for him at Isabel’s house. While Isabel doesn’t want to sit around brushing her hair as he had expected, and her trampoline turns out to be great fun, his visits—he returns for the trampoline—further convince her that he’s in love, too. Instead, Jasper is embarrassed and frustrated. Based on a misguided story from his beloved grandmother, Jasper decides that if he dips Isabel’s hair in jam (since ink is unavailable), maybe she’ll lose interest. Unsurprisingly, the plan does not go well. Adderson perfectly captures the trials of early childhood, and with brief text and a simple vocabulary, she breathes full life into her cast of characters, from Paul C., new to the school and hiding behind a library book at recess, to Ori, Jasper’s best friend, whose common-sense approach is hilarious, and even to Isabel, a bit wild but fully recognizable.
Another chapter book that will readily brighten the day of emergent readers—or adults offering an extended read-aloud. (Fiction. 5-8)