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Literacy Milestone: Using Dialog Attribution

The Good-Pie Party: Liz Garton Scanlon & Kady MacDonald Denton

Book: The Good-Pie Party
Author: Liz Garton Scanlon
Illustrator: Kady MacDonald Denton
Pages: 32
Age Range: 5-8

The Good-Pie Party by Liz Garton Scanlon and Kady MacDonald Denton is about learning to say goodbye, with grace. Posy Peyton doesn't want to move away from her two best friends. Despite Megan and Mae's attempts to cheer her up, she persists in seeing the bleak side of things. Until, that is, Posy has a brainstorm. 

"Good pie is better than good-bye!"

And so the three girls invite their friends and neighbors to a "Good-Pie Party." Everyone is asked to bring a pie, and to say "so long but not good-bye." By the end of the party, Posy and her friends are still sad, but they are more able to appreciate what they do have. 

Liz Garton Scanlon's text uses short paragraphs, and plenty of dialog. I could see The Good-Pie Party working for new readers, actually, even though it's not in easy reader format. Here's a snippet:

"So the girls roll out dough and push it into a deep glass pan.
They peel apples and sprinkle them with cinnamon and cloves.
They crimp the edges of the pale white crust.

"It smells delicious in here!" says Posy's mom.

"Humph," answers Posy, even though she's feeling a little bit better already. 

I'd know Kady MacDonald Denton's illustrations anywhere. She uses the same color palettes and cozy illustration style seen in the Mouse and Bear books. The three friends are distinct, and regular. They are not idealized. One wears a kerchief and has quite a decisive nose. One is rather plump. Their broader social group includes some racial diversity. The girls do look a bit grown up, especially in the early pictures. But this matches my general impression of this as a picture book more suited to older kids than to preschoolers (the girls basically make the pie on their own - they are definitely not preschoolers). 

The Good-Pie Party celebrates the importance of friendship, and the ways in which life's comforts (such as pie) make things better. I think this would be a good classroom read-aloud for second graders or so. It's a comfortable book that tackles the topics of separation and change in a gentle manner. If I knew a child who would be moving, even up to 10 or so, I would send them this book in a heartbeat. But it should work for anyone who likes the idea of a pie-filled party. 

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (@Scholastic
Publication Date: March 25, 2104
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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