Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

News from Me, Lucy McGee

News from Me, Lucy McGee

Mary Amato
Illustrator:  Jessica Meserve 
Fiction
For ages 6 to 8
Holiday House, 2018   ISBN: 978-0823438716

When Scarlett Tandy comes up and talks to her at school, Lucy can hardly believe it. Scarlett comes from a well-to-do family and she and Lucy have never been close; and yet here she is telling Lucy all about the Craft Club that she is going to form. More amazing still is the fact that Scarlett has chosen Lucy to help her convert the garden shed in her backward into a chic Craft Cottage. In fact, she wants Lucy to come over that very day after school.

The problem is that Lucy’s father has signed her up for Songwriting Club, and the first meeting is that day. After school. Without worrying too much about it, Lucy decides to ditch Songwriting Club. Scarlett Tandy has chosen her to get the Craft Cottage ready, which is surely more important than attending the Songwriting Club.

Lucy is very excited to be a part of Scarlett’s project, but her enthusiasm wanes somewhat when she is given the job of cleaning up the very dirty shed, while Scarlett creates a picture of what the cottage is going to look like when it is all fixed up. Still, Scarlett promises that next Wednesday will even better. She has a surprised planned for Lucy.

It turns out that Scarlett’s surprise is that they are going to paint the inside of the cottage. Scarlett tells Lucy that Mr. Hopkin, the art teacher, said that they could have some paint from the art room at school. In the art room Lucy meets Phillip Lee, the boy who started the Songwriting Club. He tries to convince Lucy to join the club and explains that they are “making up songs and learning how to play them on the uke.”  Lucy can’t help thinking that perhaps she could learn to play the ukulele “if it was easy,” but then she forgets about the whole thing to focus her attention on Scarlett’s Craft Cottage.

Just like the Wednesday before Lucy ends up doing the dirty work. She alone gets the job of painting the cottage interior, and when Scarlett’s cat gets pink paint on her, Scarlett insists that Lucy should be the one to clean up the cat.

The next morning there is an announcement on the school “TV show” that worries Lucy. Apparently some pink paint was stolen from the art room and Mr. Hopkin is asking for anyone who knows about the missing paint to come and see him. Lucy is shocked. The day before Scarlett indicated that she had permission to take the paint, which Scarlett now denies. What is Lucy going to do? Why is it that somehow all her encounters with Scarlett in the last few weeks have not turned out to be much fun at all?

Making the right choices can be very hard indeed, especially when a very popular and charismatic person is telling you what to do. Finding the strength to say no when your inner voice tells you that something is not right is not easy.

In this sweetly amusing story, Lucy creates a situation for herself when she lets someone else push her into doing things that are unwise. She comes to realize that at some point you have to stand up for what is right, even if that means that you have to upset someone who seems to be perfect.

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