May 18, 2015
The Graham Cracker Plot by Shelley Tougas
The Graham Cracker Plot
by Shelley Tougas
Roaring Brook Press
Judge Henry told Daisy to write everything that she thinks and feels about her attempt to break The Chemist out of Club-Fed (prison). Mom thinks Daisy should be able to have it done it just a few nights but not-quite-twelve year old Daisy (she refuses to go by Aurora Dawn) has been keeping things in and she has a lot to say.
But she’s sure of one thing above all else – the whole thing is her friend Graham’s fault. After all, the break out was his idea.
Life isn’t easy when your dad is a resident of Club-Fed. But Daisy gets to see him once a month and reassures herself with the fact that the one-time college turned minimum security prison isn’t all that bad. There aren’t any serious criminals there and she’s sure The Chemist is innocent.
Then one Saturday she finds him with half his face swollen and a missing tooth. Apparently he had a disagreement with some of his fellow prisoners. Daisy is so upset that she ignores the “no touching” rule and climbs into his lap. This earns her a six-month ban and a belly full of anger. This anger feeds into the plan to spring the Chemist from Club-Fed.
As an adult reader I immediately realized that the Chemist didn’t accidentally set the house on fire doing a science experiment. He was most likely cooking up some product for sale and distribution. Daisy finds this out late in the took. She’s also realized that Graham is often a better friend to her than she is to him and that Judge Henry may be strict but he knows a thing or two about truth and about people and even about her.
This book covers a lot of touch topics but it is still solidly middle grade. The author moves the story along quickly and Daisy’s sassy, energetic voice keeps things from going to the dark side.
Don’t hold this book back from your young reader because it deals with these topics. They will love it for the same reason that they love The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. They’ll love it because Tougas is willing to tell them tough truths about the world.