Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ida B

Katherine Hannigan
Greenwillow Books 2004

Energetic, imaginative Ida B lives in Wisconsin, in a valley full of apple orchard with a stream running through it and a mountain behind it. Her loving parents are good, wise, and kind enough rescue her from the "Place of Slow but Sure Body-Cramping, Mind-Numbing, Fun-Killing Torture" more commonly known as public school. Ida is home-schooled, but she isn't lonely. As she roams the valley she talks to the apple trees and the brook and the rocks, and they talk back, just the way I remember trees and rocks talking when I was young. By the time I get through the first few chapters, I'm drooling just as much as Ida B's dog, Rufus. I wish I'd grown up in a place like that.

But Ida B's idyllic life doesn't last forever. Hard times come, and Ida B has to go back to school. Her family even has to sell some of the orchard. Ida B's a plotter and a planner, she's not going to take this lying down, but will her schemes for fighting back make things better or worse?

One thing very special about this book - Ida B's voice makes ordinary life feel as big and important as it really is. I loved it. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

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