The Illustrated Mum

by Jacqueline Wilson

Being my second time reading the book, I had the opportunity to pay more attention to Wilson’s incredible talent in portraying her characters without being shocked or distracted by the harrowing experiences that Dolphin must suffer through, growing up and living with a mother who is mentally unstable.  It amazes me how the reader can just “listen” to a couple of sentences and “see” a few gestures or facial expressions from a character and become totally aware of this character’s personality, even predicting his/her future behaviors.

There are definitely some flaws in Wilson’s plotting: the finding of Dolpin’s father is not only far-fetched, it also seems unnecessary from a plot-construction aspect.  It also does not necessarily serve an emotional relief for the character.  The foster mother and the return of Star, combined with Marigold’s treatment, might do the trick to reassure both Dolphin and the young readers that hope and a brighter future is on the horizon.

This is the April 2010 Children’s Literature Circle selection.

(Children’s Literature Circle is a monthly Faculty book group that I run at my school.)

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