A review by hsims333
The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee, by Barry Jonsberg


This is an excellent book! It isn't eligible for the Newbery because the author is Australian and it was formerly published there under the title 'My Life as an Alphabet" - but it is certainly award worthy!

The book is presented as an autobiographical school assignment and is organized in an alphabetical format. The personality of this unique young girl who loves reading the dictionary, reads nearly only Charles Dickens and uses high level vocabulary has difficulty talking to new people. Luckily she loves to write and is prepared with a notebook at all times. Despite her acknowledged social difficulties, her goal in life is to ensure the happiness of those around her. Although her schemes are not always successful, they are indeed thoughtful, well intentioned and creative.

This story is humorous, heart wrenching and most of all hopeful. It includes themes of self-acceptance, bullying/social rejection, family loss, depression and critical illness,family rifts, education of students who are unique learners and thinkers, a love of writing, and even some scientific explanations of quantum physics and the theory of relativity!

I love, love, love this middle grade novel!