Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Just Grace

Just Grace

Charise Mericle Harper
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 9
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2007   ISBN: 978-0618646425

Grace Stewart has to put up with more than a few annoyances in her life but at the moment the biggest indignity she is trying to reconcile herself to is the fact that she is being called Just Grace by her teacher and classmates. There are four Graces in her class and her teacher has decided that something has to be done to tell the Graces apart. Thus there is Grace W., Grace F., Gracie, and Grace Stewart has ended up being called Just Grace because she asked to be called "just Grace." Who knew that the teacher would take her words literally.

Thankfully there are a few bright spots in Grace's life. She loves cats, she adores Augustine Dupre her downstairs neighbor, and she has her terrific best friend called Mimi.

Up until now Grace has always feared Mrs. Luther, who lives next door. Mrs. Luther, who teaches in Grace's school, has scary masks all over the walls of her home and she wears long witch-like dresses. She also has a very sweet and friendly cat who is called Crinkles and who likes to visit Augustine and Grace. Unfortunately Mrs. Luther recently broke her leg and Crinkles is (temporarily) afraid of his cast wearing mistress. Apparently Mrs. Luther is heartbroken because her beloved pet is afraid of her.

Being very sensitive to the unhappiness of others Grace is determined to do something to cheer Mrs. Luther up. She decides that she will take a photo of Crinkles, mount the photo on some cardboard, and send Mrs. Luther postcards which show Crinkles (the cardboard version) in various places around town. Grace will write the cards to make them look as if they are from Crinkles. Who would have thought that such an act of kindness could go wrong. But, alas, it does.

This is a perfect book for young readers who are beyond the early reader stage but who are not quite ready to tackle a long and involved novel. Written from Grace's point of view, the story is funny, very true to life, and it is full of little wisdoms about boys, how to handle parents, and more. Punctuated by little line drawings and mini comics, this is a story which young readers will want to dip into more than once.