Review Detail

A Necessary—and Poignant—Journey
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen’s latest book in the Tales from Deckawoo Drive series focuses on Baby Lincoln, the submissive younger sister of Eugenia Lincoln. After dreaming that she was on a train racing through a night sky, Baby decides it is time for her to take a “necessary journey.” With a bit of help from Stella, Baby sets off on a train trip of her own, and through conversations with several of her traveling companions—people she can laugh with, grow with, protect—Baby’s world becomes bigger. And with a bit of distance, she is even able to remember the good in Eugenia.

As always, DiCamillo’s characters are her greatest strength. The elderly Baby is yet another example of DiCamillo’a ability to create non-child protagonists with whom child readers can nevertheless empathize. Baby and the friends she makes are endearing and memorable and even dominating Eugenia shows her softer side with some encouragement from Stella. Chris Van Dusen’s numerous illustrations provide the perfect bright-eyed sweetness to DiCamillo’s world.

This book is ideal for early elementary children with an ability to appreciate the extraordinary in everyday events, though any reader who has experienced tensions with siblings could find their heartstrings tugged. The book is brief and would work well as both a read-aloud and an independent reading selection. Finally, even though it is part of a series, it easily stands on its own. In short, I strongly recommend it.
Good Points
Strong characters; engaging illustrations; sweet story
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