Secret Letters from 0 to 10

by Susie Morgenstern

Everything in ten-year-old Ernest Morlaisse's life is predictable, including... read more

Everything in ten-year-old Ernest Morlaisse's life is predictable, including Ernest himself. From the style of suit he wears to school each day to the marmalade on two pieces of toast that he always has for breakfast to the homework that he never fails to complete, Ernest never changes. In fact, he doesn't even think about change, or likes or dislikes. Like the grandmother who is raising him in her somber home, his life is pale and unfulfilled and he doesn't even know it. Then Victoria de Montardent blows into their lives. Victoria is the new girl in Ernest's class and absolutely nothing about her is predictable with the exception of her lively, dauntless, overwhelmingly forceful personality. Victoria is smitten with Ernest, the best student in their class. And, not surprisingly, Ernest, who has never had to learn the meaning of resistance, is absolutely bowled over by Victoria, who lives with her parents and 12 brothers in a house that is never quiet. Without even questioning what is happening, both Ernest and his grandmother begin to change under Victoria's influence. They get a telephone and a television. The actually go out to eat! And they discover that beneath the staid exterior of their dutiful relationship is a warm and loving bond. An absolutely delightful novel with unforgettable characters and a charming, quirky plot comes to U.S. readers from France, where it was originally published. Honor Book, 1998 CCBC Batchelder Award Discussion. (Ages 10-13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1998

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