Daphne's Book by Mary Downing Hahn

When I first read this book, I must have been a pre teen or in my early teenage years. I remember enjoying the book, but I doubt I fully grasped everything in the story. When I was younger, I might have been on Daphne and Hope's side, thinking Jessica should keep their secret, but as an adult, I know how wrong that would be.

I loved the imagination the girls showed in this story as they wrote their book and how they let the younger sister play with them and didn't shun her, as big sisters sometimes do. I believe the story handled bullying well, and Jessica and Daphne's reactions to it were realistic. I also think it handled the mental decline of the grandmother well, though I have no personal experiences with it to know if it was a correct representation.

Some of the words and actions of the grandmother toward Daphne and Hope broke me. I can understand why Jessica was terrified of her and also cringed every time the grandmother and Jessica interacted. As a child reading this, I probably would have disliked the grandmother as I wouldn't fully understand about her illness, but as an adult, I just feel sorrow and fear to know her condition is what happens to some of us as we age. It is sad, but a fact of life.

I do feel like the ending was a bit rushed. I wish there were more at the end, showing us how everyone is a few weeks, months, or even years down the road. Did Jessica keep in contact with them? Did they ever see their dream come true of being a writer/illustrator team? Did Jessica ever find her missing mouse?

Over all, I think this was a wonderful book and I hope many people of all ages get to enjoy it.