Sunday, May 24, 2009

Natalie and the One-of-a-Kind Wonderful Day! by Dandi Daley Mackall

Natalie and the One-of-a-Kind Wonderful Day! by Dandi Daley Mackall
Geared Towards: Ages 6-9
Published By: Zonderkidz
Publication Date: May 2009
ISBN: 978-0-3107-1566-5

With my oldest daughter, now five, reading at about a second to third grade level, I am always looking for great chapter books that she can read on her own. I look for books that aren't too advanced, yet ones that will still be something more substantial than your basic beginning reader. This is exactly what I was hoping to find when given the opportunity to preview and review Natalie and the One-of-a-Kind Wonderful Day! by Dandi Daley Mackall. Guess what, folks? It was!

Readers who remember enjoying the popular juvenile fiction series about Ramona Quimby should most definitely add this book to their TBR (to-be-read) list. The first in a new series, That's Nat!, by Zonderkidz and, more specifically, Dandi Daley Mackall, this is a book that I simply could not get enough of. I have incredibly great expectations for the series, as it comes together, as a whole, and I can hardly wait for the next book to release.

Even as an adult, I found I was so excited to read Natalie and the One-of-a-Kind Wonderful Day! because the cover illustration was cute and the story sounded like something that I could have written about my own girls. Having read it, I am even more excited to let my daughter(s) have a go at it. My only worry about introducing the ever big hearted Natalie, star of the series, to my own daughters is that she has an uncanny way of getting herself in to quite the mess. I'd hate for my kiddos to be inspired by her, in the wrong ways, and repeat the five year old's off the wall "of the heart" mishaps. (LOL)

"What", you might ask, "is the book about?" To find the answer to that question, readers need look no further than the title of the book itself. Natalie and the One-of-a-Kind Wonderful Day! is all about how one little girl, aka Natalie, strives from the very first moment in the morning until the very last moment of the night to do something truly remarkable, amazing, and wonderful for her parents. She's an utter sweetheart, but despite Natalie's best intentions everything she sets her hand to goes wrong in some fashion or another. It starts with her trying to make her mom and dad some grape omel-nats (grape omelets) for breakfast. Then the day quickly goes down hill as one by one, from her attempts at prettying up the bathroom and dad's Sunday church shoes to rescuing her friends the ants, Natalie's grandious schemes fall flat. More so, they don't just fall flat. They crash and burn!

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Natalie and her parents because literally I could have written the book about my own daughter. The way Nat thinks and acts, the things she does, they are all things my daughter has it in her to do if she hasn't done them already. (LOL) Better yet is how spot on the author portrays the parents. Mom and Dad know Natalie doesn't try to create the trouble she finds herself in, but even having that knowledge does not stop mom and dad from getting upset and imposing punishments when necessary.

All Natalie wants is to do something really special- something one-of-a-kind special. She wants to do something that will make her mom and dad stand up and say "that's wonderful!" More than anything, she wants them to be pleasantly surprised by her endeavors. Alas, nothing goes quite as expected. What Natalie doesn't want is to upset her hurt her mom and dad; however, at the end of the day it feels like she's done nothing but disappoint them. She wants to make them proud, and she wants to feel important. But as Nat quickly discovers, being a five-year-old girl in a grown up world can be very stressful. This is why she finds it so reassuring that even when it seems the rest of the world is against her, God is on her side.

God is all around us, and I adore how seemlessly Mackall manages to work Him in to Natalie's story. In such easy to follow terms, Mackall touches on God's forgiveness, His love for us, even His creations. It's perfect because the way she has written Natalie to think is most certainly the way most children that are going to be reading this book will also think. How awesome to be able to introduce God or help establish God's presence in your child's life than through a light hearted read like Natalie and the One-of-a-Kind Wonderful Day!?

OUR RATING: 5 hearts

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