Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Gabby, Wonder Girl

Publish October 4, 2016

Following the success of Gabby and Gabby, Drama Queen, author Joyce Grant and illustrator Jan Dolby deliver another word-building adventure in Gabby, Wonder Girl. Once again, Gabby and her sidekick Roy bring words to life using letters from Gabby’s magical alphabet book. This time they must also solve a mystery, and they discover that question marks will help them find the answers they seek. Grant uses alliteration to emphasize all the things a letter can do. For example, Roy removes a “messy M from the mud” and “adds an A around his ankle.” Grant also includes several question words to help kids grasp the use of this punctuation mark: who, where, and how are all explored. Dolby’s spunky illustrations capture Gabby’s energy: when Gabby ran “so fast she was practically a blur” her legs are replaced with a spiraling circle. Kids who are familiar with the series will recognize the expressive frog, cat, and blue bird, who can be seen throughout the book. A hedgehog appears in nearly every scene; he holds a series of letters that kids can string together to spell a secret word. Gabby, Wonder Girl is an enjoyable story that offers kids plenty of enrichment on and beyond its pages. Back matter includes activities like word scrambles and question-based games. A more comprehensive list of question words can also be found here, as can a paragraph explaining the significance of the inukshuk found in Gabby’s neighbour’s garden. Links to online resources and teacher guides are also available.

Gabby, Wonder Girl

Joyce Grant
Illustration EN: Jan Dolby
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
ISBN 13: 978-1-55455-384-6

Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.

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