Living in the Jungle
The wonderful My Deal With The Universe by Deborah Kerbel was one of my vacation reads this year and it was absolutely perfect. Published by Scholastic Canada it's the story of Daisy and her brother Jack and their house, lovingly referred to as The Jungle.
Daisy and Jack are twelve year old twins, living with their parents, Nate and Frieda, in a house that is so covered in vines it looks "like the plant version of Cousin Itt". It's the end of the school year and summer is just beginning. Things are seemingly looking down for Daisy. Jack, who is in remission, has had to go back to the doctors for some mysterious appointments. Daisy's best friend Willow is headed off to camp for the entire summer and the miserable neighbours are making life difficult again. With unexpected friendships, a lot of love, and a whole lot more strength, Daisy soon discovers the power of being different.
This story is full of colourful and eclectic characters. There is the house which stands as a character in its own right. From the evil Pitt's to biker Grappa and everyone in between, there is not a "normal" character in this story making it accessible and relatable to a wide audience. Some of my favourite parts are the swear words Daisy has created for herself: "fajizzling" just love it! Deborah Kerbel has absolutely nailed the voice in this story. Daisy comes across as any twelve year old girl, with her own language and fierceness. At it's heart My Deal With The Universe is a touching story about owning your differences and appreciating the colourfulness of the world we all share. Without the colourful characters we meet everyday, our lives would be dull and unimaginative. Through Daisy, Deborah Kerbel show us it's okay to let the world know our true selves and to be proud of who we are and where we come from, whether that's in a perfectly manicured property or an overgrown jungle. Put My Deal With The Universe on your summer reading list.