Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Danika's Totally Terrible Toss

Part of The Secret Keeper Girl series, Danika's Totally Terrible Toss: The Legend of the Purple Flurp, written by Dannah Gresh, introduces readers to twelve-year-old Danika. Though adopted from China (along with her foster mom-now-grandma) when she was four, Danika now lives in Ohio. She really wants to be popular, but she also wants to be a good friend -- two desires that don't always mesh well. Something else she wants: to be crowned Miss Teeny Pop. Unfortunately, on the day of the pageant, all three of these desires collide.

While sitting at the "popular" table she intentionally snubs her best friend and then accidentally tosses her mom's famous "Purple Flurp" (Danika's favorite dessert) all over the lunch aid. This lands her in three days of detention and possibly out of the pageant.

In detention, Danika revives an old friendship and builds some new ones. The four girls start a "Secret Keeper Girls Club" and set off on a journey of discovering what true friendship is all about. Following the advice of Proverbs 13:20, the girls, led by Danika and a favorite teacher, take walks with some wise people to learn what their club rules should be. These set the stage for some learning experiences and the foundation of healthy, lasting relationships.

Bonus features include sidebar "bubbles" throughout the text that invite readers online for extras (like the recipe for Mrs. McAllister's famous Purple Flurp or a craft to make "sweet pens") and discussion questions with space for journaling at the back.

What I Like: The pages are all printed in purple! While this is not my favorite color, it definitely sparked my daughter's interest. The book is an easy read; it's fun and entertaining. This book wisely handles trials common to all middle school girls without sounding preachy. It opens avenues of conversation by showing kids that adults do understand, that we've been there and gone through the same things.

I really like the bonus material -- especially the additional resources available on the web. The website ( is packed with fun stuff, including SKG (Secret Keeper Girl) events and tips for starting your own friendship club. It also offers excellent resources for moms who want to protect purity, promote modesty and help girls to not grow up too fast.

What I Dislike: No one gives credit to the Bible for the Proverb upon which the club is based. It isn't until readers reach the questions at the back of the book that they realize this is more than just good advice -- It's actually God's Word. The dialog was trite in some places and dated in others. The overuse of exclamation points annoyed me. Also, I found Danika's wealth off-putting. Maybe many 12-year-olds can relate to someone whose parents have housekeepers, personal assistants, private dress designers, BMWs, and marble-columned mansions, but I wouldn't have been one of those. I struggled to believe that someone that materially rich would have difficulty being popular.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 8-12

Publisher Info: Moody Publishers, 2008; ISBN: 0802487025; Paperback; 110 pages; $7.99

Buy it Now at for $5.99!

OR Buy it at for $7.99.

You can also get this title as an e-book for $4.79.

Special Info: See our review of another book in this series: Just Call Me Kate. The author of both books is a forerunner in the fight to protect girls' purity in our less-than-modest society. Learn more about her, her other books (which include novels, devotionals, and nonfiction books), events and what she's doing toward this effort at

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