How do you know a book is a hit? Ask a six-year-old if they like it. If their eyes get big and they retell you the entire story at a fast pace, complete with dramatic hand gestures, I’d say it’s a win.
Let me tell you about Margot and Calvin. These first cousins have a soft spot for each other. When they kissed on vacation last year, Max proclaimed, “They’re married!” (The boys were four and Margot five at the time.) This made us all laugh, except maybe my brother. Fast forward a few months and Calvin started wearing a fake ring. When someone asked him where he got it, he seriously said, “I got it when I married Margot.” When I tried to tell him he really wasn’t married to Margot (and it’s not the Civil War era) he got mad so I let it be.
The love continued. At our family reunion in Columbus, Ohio, Calvin tried to kiss Margot in front of all MY first cousins. My husband Eddie told them, “That’s how we do it down south.” On Christmas Day, I overheard Margot say to Calvin, “I know you like me the best because you always try to kiss me.”
Calvin came home from school the other day and said he was “over Margot” because he now likes two other girls. It’s ok, because unbeknownst to him, Margot told her mom she doesn’t want to be married. As for Max, he told me he wants to “live alone in an apartment.” (And yes, I know they will be mad at me for sharing this someday. But it’s too good!)
Back to the book. I think most of us can relate to remembering the weird kid at school or maybe we were that weird kid. In Two Speckled Eggs it’s Lyla Browning, the kid who smells funny and brings a tarantula to school. Then there is Ginger who is having a birthday party and doesn’t want to invite Lyla. Ginger’s mom, like all moms everywhere, insists that she invite Lyla to her birthday party.
This book puts a special twist on the message that the person you think is weird is surprisingly interesting and fun. I love everything about it: the story, the illustrations, and the descriptions.
Ginger’s friends don’t end up listening to her at her birthday party and they don’t appreciate her special “silver and gold cake.” Except for Lyla Browning. Lyla also gives Ginger the best present – a homemade nest with two chocolate eggs in it. After everyone leaves the party, Ginger and Lyla pretend to be birds and peck at the beloved silver and gold cake.
Calvin and I love reading this book together. We love reading about the tarantula, the cake, the chocolate eggs, and we really love the part where they pick at it like birds. (I have to admit that in a house full of boys, this feminist makes sure we read about girls.) But it’s not a book for girls it’s just a great book.
Where to find the book and other info
We discovered this book at the Clifton branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. You can buy it directly from its publisher, Candlewick Press. Mann has another book I Will Never Get A Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard coming out in June. It looks awesome. And who doesn’t remember not getting stars at some point in school?
Special shout out to Leslie Cannon for serving as my Editor At Large.