If I ever get to meet Haven Kimmel, I already know what I will ask her. "How do you manage to tell such sad stories with humor and beauty? Huh? HUH?!" I'll try not to grab her by the shoulders and shake really hard. Seriously, it is amazing to me and maybe if I shake her hard enough something will pop out of her brain and I can steal it and write my own beautiful book. It would be worth the restraining order she'd inevitably put on me. Caren and I are huge fans of Haven Kimmel's books, which is evidenced here, here, here, here, and here. I'm starting to think I should just write a blog post that says, "Read a new Haven Kimmel book, you should read it too" and leave it at that. But no, I will wax long and enthusiastically on every new book she writes. Get used to it.
Doesn't that sound like a sad story? Then let me tell you that I laughed out loud over and over and over again reading this book. I laughed until I thought I would get a stitch in my side. Kaline has the best imagination I have ever read about. My oldest daughter and I read it and quoted it to each other and laughed over it and talked about it and read it again. I could own this book. When my daughter had her birthday, she'd convinced herself I was giving her a copy of Kaline Klattermaster and was sorely disappointed that she got Nancy Drew instead. This book was a treasure and despite the fact that it's dealing with separated parents, a little boy lost and confused, and nasty school bullies, you can't help feeling lighter after reading it.
How does she do it? How can Haven Kimmel take such sad circumstances and make you laugh out loud over them? Like in A Girl Named Zippy, she doesn't mope or generate pity for less than ideal circumstances, and in some cases really horrible situations, but instead finds reasons to laugh. Not all her books are like that. Oh my goodness, Iodine was not funny in the least, nor some of her other books, but when she aims to create humor, she does it splendidly.