Dodo (short for Doreen) renames herself Doodlebug when she starts drawing to pass the time during the family’s move from Los Angeles to San Francisco. She likes it so much, and she’s so good at it, that she keeps on doodling through her classes at her new school. It helps her make friends, but some of her teachers are not amused. Can she convince them that doodling helps her learn?
Doodlebug, a Novel in Doodles by Karen Romano Young explores how some children have different learning styles and ways of coping to help them through emotionally trying times. Doreen and her sister Maureen (or Momo), both have to figure out how to adjust to their new environment, and they have different styles of coping. Their parents are also adjusting to new jobs, and maybe not paying as much attention to their children as they need to while they do.
The illustrations, made to look like doodles, are a perfect companion to the story, which is indeed told through the doodles . They’re sophisticated enough so you know the author is also a talented illustrator, but they’re also simple enough for readers to feel that maybe their own doodles could create something important. It’s almost like journaling.
Doodlebug ends up being her own best advocate and learns a lot about addressing problems instead of ignoring them and hoping they will go away. I recommend Doodlebug for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged nine to 12.