A school story with a plausible troubling issue, the book draws in readers with the speech bubbles of characters who contemplate each other on the opening pages of the part graphic novel/part traditional novel. In short, Rolly Maloo and her friend Patty Parker want their smart classmate, Jenna Lee, to help them with math...and then proceed to ask her for answers on a district math test. Rumors and lies abound until Mrs. Pie, their wise teacher, helps the truth rise out of the mire. The method of revelation and the subsequent characters' thoughts play out perfectly in the author's carefully planned narration.
Being able to talk about books and our reactions to them is one of the many blessings of having two librarians who serve a large school population. Though we do not always have the same reactions to and impressions of books, our shared comments provide depth to our collection development, as well as authentic book discussions like we want our students to experience.
Interestingly, she talked with a fifth grade teacher last week who wanted to share books with students to demonstrate that people of all ages, social groups, and cultural backgrounds have voices in literature. Me and Rolly Maloo is a perfect example. Each of the schoolchildren is of a different ethnic group, yet that is not the focus of the controversy. Their voices ring true to their situations.
I am hoping my cherished library lady/teacher partner has time to read this book after tonight's PTA meeting so we can exchange ideas in the morning.