Book Review of Ferradiddledumday
This past Thanksgiving Day, I sat on our sunny deck with several of my grandchildren and started reading aloud Becky Mushko's advance reading copy of Ferradiddledumday, An Appalachian Version of Rumpelstiltskin. The children were hooked as soon as I read the catchy title and showed them the cover. Each time I turned a page they insisted I show them the illustrations by Bruce Rae.
"Look!" one granddaughter said as she pointed to page eight. "This page has a rattlesnake AND a copperhead!"
I nodded and smiled. I, too, liked Bruce's illustrations.
Even though I had read Ferradiddledumday in it's infancy, I read slowly, savoring again the delightful superstitions of Appalachia, enjoying the Appalachian dialect woven throughout the pages. From page 15:
"Ay, well," said her pa when the skies cleared and they could go outside, "the garden weren't hurt too bad. The cornstalks ain't been flatted and the bean vines ain't tore up."
Can't you just feel it, see it? Mushko is a true story teller, and this latest book is honest Appalachian literature. And to top it off, there's a study and discussion guide that draws me in, makes me want to follow it. More importantly, it will appeal to kids, get them interested in researching Rumpelstiltskin, Appalachia, leprechauns. They will learn that research can be fun.
Because I was reading slowly and taking time to show everyone the illustrations, my kitchen buzzer went off before I could finish the book.
"Don't stop now, Grandmother!" one said. "We want to hear the rest!"
But the turkey and sweet potatoes called, and suspecting that 21 folks didn't want to wait much longer before chowing down, I hurried to the kitchen, knowing I'd disappointed my grandchildren. And I smiled, knowing how excited they would be when they received their very own copy of Ferradiddledumday when the book comes out in January 2010. You, dear reader, should buy it, too.