5000 Reasons to Love Veronica Veetch

Okay, I might fall a little short of 5,000. Actually, I’m only going to give you three reasons to love Veronica Veetch, but each one is worth thousands of lesser reasons. And by that somewhat suspect logic there are at least 5000 reasons to love The 5000 Friends of Veronica Veetch by Jean Hanson.

Reason #1: It rhymes. Hanson has done an amazing job weaving together a narrative with fun and engaging verse. Lots of writers attempt this method of storytelling and most fall a little short. After the initial push, authors find themselves settling for labored, forced lines. There is none of that here. The voice is fun and engaging throughout. It’s sure to hook kids and have them repeating lines along with parents and teachers on subsequent readings. This not only helps children remember and engage with books before they can decode and experience the joys of reading, but it also provides them with the chance to bond  with the person they are reading with.

Reason #2 : It educates. Every word a child reads is an educational experience. But Veronica Veetch doesn’t just stop at the simple enrichment provide by the act of reading. Readers watch as Veronica’s classmates judge her, thinking she is a bit of a bourgeois princess because she appears cultured, knowledgeable, and well travelled. They all reject Veronica, along with her knowledge, leaving the poor girl feeling alone and friendless. Of course Hanson doesn’t leave things there. She goes on to teach kids a valuable lesson using…

…Reason #3: THE POWER OF READING! This is my favorite thing about Veronica and it’s worth at least 3000 lesser reasons to love Veronica Veetch. Veronica hatches a plan to win back her friends and forge new connections. She invites her entire class over to her home and to their surprise… She’s no princess. In fact, it doesn’t seem like her family is doing all that well. They live in a meager, ramshackle home. But, without enormous resources, how did Veronica acquire her vast repertoire of knowledge and culture? Books, books, and more books! Veronica’s home is filled (floor to ceiling and alphabetically ordered) with books! Through reading, Veronica has opened up the whole world to herself. She has fearlessly crossed class, economic, and geographic boundaries in the pages of her beloved books and, by the end of this story, she has shared that magic with everyone in her class.

The 5000 Friends of Veronica Veetch is magical. Better than that, it is real magic. It has the sort of wonder that kids can only access in the world of words and what’s even better, it encourages them to go and discover that magic again and again in new books. I suppose that’s one more reason to love this book. I guess I should have titled this article the 5000 and 1 reasons to love Veronica Veetch.

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