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In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Chapter Book Review: Donovan’s Word Jar by Monalisa DeGross

On 09, Dec 2015 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Donovan's Word JarDonovan’s Word Jar written by Monalisa DeGross, pictures by Cheryl Hana

Lexile: 670L

From Goodreads: Donavan is fascinated by words. They seem to leap out at him from books, signs, even the back of cereal boxes. He savors each word as he learns to say it and discovers its meaning. He keeps the words he collects on slips of paper in a big glass jar. But one day the jar is almost full and Donavan has a dilemma. How can he make room for new words without giving up all the terrific words already in his jar? A visit to his grandmother provides the unexpected solution in this heartwarming story about how important words can be.

This was such a sweet story!¬†Donovan loves to collect words. He writes them down on slips of paper and keeps them in a jar. But when the jar fills up he needs to find a solution for storing the words. He realizes that even if he gets a larger jar or switches to a notebook or file those will eventually fill up too and he doesn’t want that.

On a visit to his grandmother’s apartment he accidentally leaves his jar in the rec room where all the residents find the words and begin to talk and interact and laugh. Donovan had been resistant to the idea of sharing his words, but he realizes the power that words can have to do good and decides he likes giving them away.

In theory the story is didactic, but it never feels like it’s hitting you over the head with a message. Instead Donovan reads like a typical kid with a problem he wants to solve. Particularly when he keeps rejecting ideas that people offer him (we all know that kid- the one who wants you to fix their problem but doesn’t like any of your solutions). Despite the slightly dated cover and simplicity of the story I think it would appeal to most kids who are into chapter books. It has a few pictures in it, the chapters are short and it’s clearly realistic fiction so I suppose it isn’t the best book for every child, but I think the story is enjoyable enough that most kids will appreciate it.

If you have it in your collection promote it. If you don’t I suggest getting a copy.

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