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We listened to this book as a family last year when one of my children (who has dyslexia) was assigned this book over the winter vacation and found it too annoying and boring to read. (This was the only schoolbook he was ever allowed to listen to as an audiobook).
Chances are, if you are thinking of listening to this book, it is because it is assigned for a class. However, the narrator, who has a lovely voice and does a wonderful job, reads very slowly. So unless you have a reading disability as my son did, chances are you would finish reading the book hours before she does.
I am writing this review primarily for the parents who might be tempted to purchase it for a car ride or some family listening. My advice is don't do it. The story of Delia and how she covers up the fact that she can't read is compelling. However, the book is written in simple sentences which are easy for grade school children to read. After ten minutes of listening it becomes grating. All of my kids hated listening to it and started to mimc it.
The dialogue between the kids in the book is just a fantastical concoction of how adults wished children would talk to each other. Also, the resolution of some plot lines seemed far-fetched as well. The transformation of the Tolliver twins was particularly uninspired.
As trite as this sounds, Double Dutch does touch on important social issues. Reading this book might very well prompt a child who has difficulty reading, or one who spends a great deal of time alone, to ask for help. Most of the adults portrayed in this inner city community are caring and supportive, so help is just an ask away.
But I still found it a highly annoying listen. So my advice to any parent whose child needs or wants to listen to this book is to put it on their ipod or mp3 player and give them headphones.
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