“Memorable characters, endearing friendships, mature topic.”
Delaware “Delly” Pattison (her sisters are named Tallahassee, Montana, and Galveston) is non-stop trouble, not because she wants to be, but because it seems to be what’s expected of her, and she’s not sure how to be anything different. Then an unexpected friendship develops between Delly and Ferris Boyd, a new girl at school who doesn’t talk and can’t be touched. This friendship results in tender moments of growth and bonding as the girls’ trials become catalysts for change in one another other. Hannigan does a masterful job of capturing the tenderness of youth, the sincerity of childhood friendships, and the unconditional love of family. It’s touching to see Delly’s character development as she responds to internal desires and external influences prompting her to be a good daughter, sister, and friend. Her unique vocabulary of noncuss words (“bawlgrammit”) and other original words (a surprise present is a “surpresent”) are a memorable invention. As a perceptive reader might expect, Ferris Boyd doesn’t talk and can’t be touched because she is physically abused by her father. The story avoids graphic description of the abuse, but anyone suggesting the book will still want to be confident the reader is ready for this content. Assuming they are, they’re in for a fun yet tender story of friendship, love, and caring for one another.
Can friendship save you? The day Ferris Boyd moves to town, Delly Pattison is sure a special surpresent (a present that is a surprise) is on its way. Instead, Delly ends up in even more trouble than usual. The Boyds’ arrival in River Bluffs means big changes for Brud Kinney, too. He can’t believe who he’s hanging around with. Ferris Boyd isn’t like anyone Delly or Brud have ever known. Ferris is a mystery and a wonder. Through friendship, though, Delly, Brud, and Ferris discover truths that will change their lives. And bring them the best surpresent of all. Includes an all-new afterword featuring a short story, photographs by the author, and more
Families are unique and have different expectations for the books they choose to read. The following is a list of concepts included in this book that some parents may wish to seek out or avoid.
Abuse: Through the eyes of a young girl, this book unlocks the important topic of abuse in an age-appropriate way. Delly’s friend is mute, and Delly sees scars on her friend’s back and notices how she’s scared to go home when her father is there.
Note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be concepts in this book that are not included or have been insufficiently or incorrectly detailed here.
Delly also has a hard time controlling her temper, so ask your child how Delly learns to do so.
Talk with your child about safety and what they should do if they ever learn that someone else is being hurt by another person. Inform them that they can talk to a parent about it.
Such an important read, and a wonderful way to discuss safety and abuse with children by reading it together or talking about it afterwards. The story brings up this important topic in a very age-appropriate and gentle way, allowing children to learn important lessons while loving the adventures of Delly Pattison.
We read this as a family and were so touched by the story. I was the reader most nights and multiple times fought back tears or burst out in laughter. Katherine Hannigan masterfully captures the strong emotions associated with family relationships and friendships. Delly Pattison is a character you’ll be glad you met.
Know that the book treats the subject of physical child abuse and its impact on an elementary-age girl. It is not graphic.