Monday, 17 February 2014
Darcy Burdock: Hi So Much by Laura Dockrill
I first saw Laura Dockrill during a talk at the British Library about children's literature, and it was her enthusiasm about books, especially those she read during her childhood, that really made her stand out. (Okay, her neon pink tights may have helped with that as well.) She was such a fascinating speaker that it only made sense to check out her work, which is how I was introduced to Darcy Burdock.
The books are written from Darcy's point of view, in Darcy's manner of speaking and way of thinking. It can take some getting used to, but it's worth it as Dockrill has perfectly captured youth in this character. Darcy is made more interesting by her ability to write creative stories that relate to her life and even provides illustrations. It's a difficult feat for an author to have a character who writes, and also include the character's stories within a book, but with Darcy it only seems natural and necessary.
In the second installment, Hi So Much sees Darcy enter the Big School, where everything is different. It encompasses the difficulties of the tween age: whether or not you can be best friends with a member of the opposite sex, how to cope with life when tragedy strikes, and how there are always people you can depend on, even when you don't expect it. But most importantly, even with all the ups and down dramas of Darcy's life, her reaction is realistic of a ten-year-old. You can only sympathise with all her pains and take pleasure in her joys. The book is, quite simply, a really fun read.
What I truly loved about this book was how many people in Darcy's life would suggest she write, be it to cope with something or simply because they recognise a talent. There was no one ever pushing her too much or telling her not to, which is a wonderful reminder of how much a child can thrive if their interests are supported and they aren't regularly running into negativity. I feel any child reading about Darcy will not only appreciate everything she experiences, but also be inspired to be creative in some way. At least, this is what I can only hope, because I know that if I had read this as a ten-year-old girl, I would have wanted to be best friends with Darcy, and also wanted to write stories of my own.
Darcy Burdock: Hi So Much. publishes on the 27th of February. Buy now direct from Random House here.