Wondrous Rex by Patricia MacLachlan

Wondrous Rex

Patricia MacLachlan, Author

Emilia Dzubiak, Illustrator

Katherine Tegen Books, Mar. 17, 2020

Suitable for ages: 8-12

Themes: Dog, Animals, Words, Imagination, Stories, Writing, Friendship, Magic

Opening: “I am seven years old, and my life is soon to be full of “wondrous” happenings. “Wondrous” is a word I learned from my aunt Lily, a writer of books.”

Synopsis:

Grace’s aunt is a writer. She works with words every day and teaches Grace interesting words like “melancholy” and “delirious.” But Lily is often “flummoxed” by her writing. Her stories don’t go anywhere, her desk is a mess, and her writer’s group can’t help.

So Lily posts an ad for an assistant: A writer of books needs an assistant, a coach, a helper, for inspiration and some magic!

The next day, Grace opens the door, and there is Rex: a Labrador retriever who will change Grace’s life, and Lily’s. The word “amazing” is an everyday word for Rex, who inspires Lily, and helps Grace find the words to write her own story.

Newbery Medal-winning author Patricia MacLachlan has written a magical and funny tale about the joy found in using words, sharing stories, and loving a wondrous dog named Rex.

Why I like this book:

Patricia MacLachlan has written a magical and charming story about seven-year-old girl, Grace, who loves big words but isn’t sure how to use them to write a story. However, her teacher has confidence in her. What fun it would be to be Grace who has an Aunt Lily, who is a writer. But Grace quickly discovers that even writers have their moments coming up with story ideas.

And then there is Rex, a smart dog, who knows things and can keeps very good secrets. He appears to inspire Aunt Lily and Grace. Readers will fall in love with Rex, as does everyone in the story. Rex is central to the story. (*No Spoilers)

Wondrous Rex introduces children to the process of writing stories and poetry. They also get a peek at how author’s interact and support each other in their “writer’s groups.”  The story is also peppered with a few large words like, “flummoxed and wondrous.” I would have just loved this story as an eight-year-old,  because I was always writing poems, stories and plays, with no one to guide me.

The book has twelve chapters with 88 pages, perfect for older elementary students learning to tackle early middle grade books or reluctant readers.

Emilia Dzubiak’s pen and ink illustrations are lively, entertaining and perfect for text.

Patricia MacLachlan is the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. Her novels for young readers include My Father’s Words, The Poet’s Dog, Word After Word After Word, Kindred Souls, and The Truth of Me.  She is also the author of many beloved picture books, a number of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily. She lives in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the MMGM link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.

*Reviewed from a library book.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

22 thoughts on “Wondrous Rex by Patricia MacLachlan

  1. Sounds like a great book. As a child I had a great dog who kept secrets but he wasn’t a very good writing coach. Though he was an excellent cheerleader. Thanks for highlighting this book. I am excited to read it.

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  2. I do love the occasional short book. Seems like MG books keep getting longer (currently reading one with 375 pages). This story and my enjoyment of the author’s previous works have me tracking down a copy. I’ll bet it would also make a great read-aloud. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

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    • It would make a great read-aloud. And it would give kids an idea about an author’s writing process and the support that is always. Good way to introduce writing poetry and stories in the classroom.

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  3. What a cool book! I’ve never seen a novel talk about the writing process, even though I imagine authors have plenty to say about it! That’s so neat that you’ve been writing since you were 8! Also, MacLachlan is a great writer—I loved her book Fly Away! Thanks for the great review!

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    • Yes, I was thrilled to see a story that talked about the writing process. Grace already loves words and stories, but just doesn’t know how to put her own words into a story. I love how she asks the writing group how they get their ideas. Fun story. And great for the classroom or at home.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a big fan of Patricia MacLachlan. Sarah, Plain and Tall was one of my regular reads with my elementary students. I also enjoyed The Poet’s Dog. I’m anxious to take a look at this one.

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    • The Sarah Plain and Tall series is my favorite — but there are so many other stories the author has written in between, like Edward’s Eyes, The Truth of Me etc. All worthy reading — and a great escape.

      Like

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