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by Alice McLerran,
illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Rating:  Worth Reading

A group of children create an imaginary city on a hill in the desert, near their homes. The book talks about the games they play, and the rules they construct. The book is based on recollections by the author's mother.

Appropriate For:
  • Beginning Readers (Ages 5-8)


Read this Book for these reasons:


Things to keep in mind about this book:


  • No strong themes, except independence and freedom of the children at play.


Main Characters:


Meggie (Rating:  Exceptional)

I really loved this book, because of how these children created this pretend city on a barren hill near their houses, and how the city persisted not just through one summer, but throughout their childhoods, even to the point that they returned to this imaginary city later in their lives.

Mo (Rating:  Worth Reading)

Like Meggie, I also liked this book. It is a heartwarming tale of children creating a rich, imaginary world which they inhabit, complete with shops, forts and even a cemetery (in which the only grave is that of a dead lizard!).

However, one thing I look for in books for my children is that they have a theme or a message. This book has no strong message - it is simply a tale of children creating their world, based on actual childhood experiences of the author's mother and aunt. The illustrations are also evocative - they bring the story to life.

I see this book as a homage to the author's mother, and it is a endearing story, but in the end, just that.

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