Signed by Zelda

by: Kate Feiffer
ages: 8+
First sentence: “Grandma Zelda didn’t answer her doorbell the first time Nicky rang.”
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Lucy is moving to New York City from Savannah. And even though it means new writing samples — Lucy is an avid graphologist, as well as someone who is interested in the forensic study of handwriting — she does. not. want. to move. And it doesn’t help that her upstairs neighbor, Nicky, is always jumping off his bed, which makes a huge racket in her room.

Nicky has consigned himself to a life in Time Outs. In fact, he barely leaves his room, except to go to school. Which means his best friend right now is Pigeon. Who is not your ordinary pigeon, but rather one who holds conversations with the people around her. Nicky’s other best friend is his Grandma Zelda, who goes missing one day.

It’s up to Nicky — with Lucy’s help, of course! — to figure out what happened to Grandma, and save her from a Terrible Fate.

I know I should put this in Science Fiction/Fantasy, because of the talking Pigeon, but honestly: it didn’t feel like a SFF book to me. It felt like a straight-up middle grade mystery. Grandma goes missing, Nicky  finds out, Lucy’s skill with handwriting helps, and Grandma is saved. Also: Bad Dad (Nicky’s; Lucy’s parents are quite lovely) is reformed. All this leads me to believe that the talking pigeon was probably an unnecessary, even if it was amusing, storytelling device.

Even with that complaint, it was an adorable little book.

(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I’ve been asked to make sure y’all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)


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