Katherine Hannigan. Delaware Pattison “was trouble: little trouble on the way to BIG TROUBLE, and getting closer to it every day. Delly’s trouble wasn’t mean. It always started with her thinking something would be fun and good. It always ended with somebody yelling, ‘Delaware Pattison, to your room!’ or, ‘Welcome to detention, Ms. Pattison. Again.’ And there Delly’d be, wondering how something that had seemed so right could go so, so wrong.”
Delly is a kid who has heard “bad, wrong, trouble” until that’s all she can see about herself. That translates into a heart that only feels sadness until one day she feels the coming of a “surpresent.” What she gets is not only a surprise but could be a present not only to herself, but to all those who get close enough to be touched by someone who can’t bear to be touched.
Just like she did in Ida B., Hannigan writes a story that pulls at your heartstrings. It makes you laugh out loud. It makes you cry real tears. As an adult it makes you look twice at the “gray children” you teach- those kids who are quiet. Those kids who stay on the fringe of the crowd. Those kids who act out and seem uncontrollable. Like Ida B., this is a must read for any adult who works with kids.
It’s also a great read aloud. It has boy characters. It has girl characters. It has adults who pay attention. For kids who struggle, it will give them hope. For kids who harass, it can lead them to a higher path. They can see past their own weaknesses and choose to lead the underdogs out.
Hannigan's latest book is certainly a present to all who read it, but considering her track record, it's no surprise.