Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happiness is...a good book. (Summer Reading edition #41)

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything
Author: Uma Krishnaswami
Illustrator: Abigail Halpin
Age Range: 8+
Published: 2011
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Cover Score: ****
Overall Grade: ***
Rating: G


Dini loves watching Bollywood movies with her friend Maddie in Maryland.  The two girls know every song and every dance and Dini's even taught her friend a few of the Indian phrases she knows (and often asks her dad to help her translate the ones she doesn't!) They especially love Dolly Singh, the beautiful star of their favorite fillums (as they are called in Bombay.)

But when Dini's mom announces that she finally got her grant to work in a small medical clinic in a small village in India, Dini is crushed.  At least if she were going to be in Bombay she may have a chance to meet Dolly in person, but Swapnagiri doesn't even show up on any of Dini's maps. And leaving Maddie for two whole years, could things get any worse?

When Dini's family arrives in Swapnagiri a million adventures and coincidences await them. It's almost like one of Dolly's movies. There are monkeys and goats, noble postmen and a singing car, a strange girl who can imitate any sound she hears, curry puffs with chocolate and wait for it, yes, Dolly herself!

After suffering a broken heart she has sequestered herself in the same small community of guest cottages where Dini's family is staying. She's determined never to work again (much to the dismay of her agent and studio executives) and when Dini finds out she puts a plan into action to not only meet Dolly but to fix things up with her and her former flame so that all will be right with the world again.

Chaos and hilarity ensues along the lines of a screwball comedy with people turning up at exactly the right moment and the kids outsmarting the adults. It's far-fetched and predictable but also silly and enjoyable.  Kids will have a great time. There are only a few cultural references, the story revolving mostly around the characters, but there is a hint of insight into India primarily the film industry. A quick, cute read.

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