According to a Betsy Bird, a blogger at School Library Journal, Sadie and Ratz, by Australian teen author Sonya Hartnett, is the best book published in the States this year.
Sadie and Ratz are the names of Hannah’s two hands, and they exist to torment her younger brother, “Baby Boy.” In this slim chapter book (60 pages, 3 illustrated chapters) for younger readers, the author is able to venture into the taboo subject of the selfish and destructive tendencies of children, especially toward their younger siblings. Hannah describes her hands: “Together they make a good team. This is what they do: crush thing up/twist and scrunch/scratch!scratch!scratch!”
Baby Boy soon catches on, and names his own bad hands, “Colin and Scraps!”
This book has an edginess to it that most books for this age group avoid. The black and white charcoal drawings by Ann James capture the darkness and confusion of the childhood feelings of displacement, imagination, jealousy and rage.
So, is it the best Childrens Book of 2012? Check it out, and share it with your children, especially those in the 5-8 age range.
–Carla E. @ Naper Blvd. Library