DAPHNE PHOEBE by Marilyn Kaye


Email this review


The first two of four books about four year-apart sisters in one family, the contemporary, suburban Chicago Grays (Cassie and Lydia are to appear this fall). Like the Marches, whom they inevitably recall, the Grays are very much children of their time; their concerns range from clothes, friends and boys to growing up, finding a social conscience and defining themselves. The stronger of these titles finds Phoebe coming home from camp looking forward to sixth grade and reunion with her friends, only to discover that during the summer they have become preoccupied with boys; one has even started wearing a bra and menstruating. Phoebe, unready for these new interests and feeling left out as the only sister still in elementary school, volunteers to help in the local library. When censorship threatens the ""Betsy Drake"" books (which sound a lot like Judy Blume's), Phoebe organizes support to defeat the proposed ban. Daphne, the literary sister, enters seventh grade in her title; her problem is too much help from Cassie, the pretty, popular Gray, and Lydia, the politician. Gentle and amenable, it takes Daphne a few weeks to decide that even if it hurts their feelings, she can't run for class office or join the pep squad if it keeps her from her real interest, creative writing. Like Blume's, these stories deal in the comfortably familiar--readers will enjoy them as they recognize themselves as they are or would like to be. Characters are complex and individual enough to be interesting. Spunky, independent Phoebe's gradual discovery of the issues involved in free speech is so cleverly described that it could be used as a defense kit in a censorship battle. It takes nice Daphne a long time to stand up for herself, but readers will cheer when she finally does. Both titles are worthwhile, and should be popular; kids will eagerly await the rest of the quartet.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1987
ISBN: 15-200433-5
Page count: 144160pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich