We finished reading Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes last Friday afternoon after returning home from a full day with our homeschool group. Although Friday’s read-aloud time was sandwiched between a trip to the park on a sultry fall day and a highly-anticipated trip to Nana’s (after rest-time, of course), the girls attended to this story right up to the end. I will say that this is something of an accomplishment given their ages (almost five and six) because Eleanor Estes definitely had a thing for writing L-O-N-G chapters and in this story she used an interesting plot device that made it a little more difficult to read aloud than I expected. All of this is not to say that we didn’t enjoy it because we most definitely did! In fact, I thought this story was every bit as enjoyable as its precursor, Ginger Pye (linked to my review).
In Pinky Pye, the Pyes leave their home in Cranbury to spend the summer on Fire Island. Mr. Pye, an ornithologist (or “bird man,” as Rachel calls him) is to study a particular bird on this island, and the family decides to go along with him and make it a real vacation. Shortly after arriving on Fire Island, the Pye family grows by one member: they acquire a small kitten named Pinky. It turns out that Pinky is a very smart and talented cat, and we readers are allowed to get into Pinky’s head and see the world from her point of view both in terms of the narrative and through the fact that Pinky has a hidden talent: she can type! Actually, what happens is Mr. Pye ends up with an injured ankle midway through the story, so he can’t very well explore the island and birdwatch, so he does the next best thing: he Pinky-watches and discovers this talent of hers. If Mr. Pye can’t write up a research report about the Fire Island bird population, then he can “help” Pinky write her own observations about life with the Pyes. This is the plot device that I mentioned above–several times in the story we read things in Pinky’s voice. I’m not sure my girls really followed this; it was a little complicated even for me. However, they never once wanted me to stop reading the book, so they must’ve followed it enough to not be bored by it.
I make this book sound like it’s just about a bird man who becomes a cat man, but it’s not. Like Ginger Pye, this story contains a good bit of mystery. However, instead of the mystery concerning a dog, in this story the mystery concerns a bird. I don’t want to give it away because it’s really a lot of fun. I do want to mention that this book positively made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion, too. (There’s one particular scene in which Mr. Pye puts a punk stick between his toes and walks . . . well, you’ll just have to read it to appreciate it! 😉 ) I really love the voice of Rachel Pye–Eleanor Estes perfectly captured the inner workings of a thinking ten year old girl in her. While I’m pretty sure that my girls didn’t get as much out of this one as I did, they definitely enjoyed it. I think I can give Eleanor Estes a big Highly Recommended now and eventually give The Moffats one more try myself.
We’ve moved on to another story now, but Pinky Pye is one cat that won’t be soon forgotten at the House of Hope! What memorable characters has your family met this week? Leave link to your Read Aloud Thursday blog post below, or simply leave a comment!