Larger-Than-Life Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received the following book for review purposes only. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from others as well as those of the author and publisher.



This isn’t about me. This story, I mean. So already you got a reason to hang it up. At least that’s what Mrs. Smith, our English teacher, says.

But the story is about ten-year-old Laney Grafton and the new girl in her class—Lara Phelps, whom everyone bullies from the minute she shows up. Laney is just relieved to have someone else as a target of bullying. But instead of acting the way a bullied kid normally acts, this new girl returns kindness for a meanness that intensifies . . . until nobody remains unchanged, not even the reader.

In a unique and multi-layered story, with equal parts humor and angst, Laney communicates the art of storytelling as it happens, with chapter headings, such as: Character, Setting, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax. And she weaves an unforgettable tale of a new girl who transforms an entire class and, in the process, reveals the best and worst in all of us.

This is a powerful and emotional story, which School Library Journal called “Thoroughly enjoyable and unexpectedly wry, . . . as intelligent as it is succinct.” – Tyndale

My Thoughts!

Laney Grafton was relieved  Lara Phelps showed up as the new girl in her class, but not for the reasons you’d think. She isn’t eager to be her friend, but instead is happy that the constant teasing will shift from her to Lara. Lara is a simple girl with a big heart. Her simple look made her an easy target for teasing and bullying, but she doesn’t react the way most kids would. Instead of being scared or fighting back, she reacts in kindness. This slowly begins to change everyone- even the reader. Who would have known that a 4th grader would be able to demonstrate such compassion and determination.

This book was written to impress! Honestly, Dandi Daley Mackall couldn’t have done a better job! I love that it directly tackles the common bullying issue, but that it does so in a gentle and graceful way. Bulling is more common that many people would like to believe and this book definitely shines a much needed light on the topic. Not only does it tackle such a  major concern that our children face, it also helps teach kids about parts of a story and how to build a story. That’s a win win in my book! I love how each chapter tells you about a new element in story building, while still maintaining complete control over the actual story.

I love that the story was written through Laney’s eyes and that it’s written in such a delicate way that it can genuinely connect with kids. My daughter and I read this book together and both felt that we could connect with the characters, their struggle, and their story. It truly felt as if we were sitting in that 4th grade class right next to them. It’s a great book to read and is easy to understand. Truly a must read!


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About The Author!


Dandi Daley Mackall is the award-winning author of over 450 books for children and adults. Dandi writes from rural Ohio, where she lives with her husband, Joe, their three children, and their horses, dogs, and cats. – Tyndale


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