Saturday, June 1, 2013

Kid Konnection: Better to Wish

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a sweet book in a new series by Ann M. Martin.
Summary: Four generations. Four girls. One family. 

An amazing new four-book series from Ann M. Martin.

In 1930, Abby Nichols is eight, and can't imagine what her future holds. The best things today would be having a dime for the fair, keeping her Pops from being angry, and saving up eighty-seven cents to surprise her little sister with a tea set for Christmas.

But Abby's world is changing fast. Soon there will be new siblings to take care of, a new house to move into, and new friends to meet. But there will also be good-byes to say and hard choices to make. As Abby grows older, how will she decide what sort of life will fit her best?

In this incredible new series, bestselling author Ann M. Martin brings the past and the present together one girlhood at a time and shows readers the way a family grows. -- Scholastic 

Booking Daughter was a huge fan of Ann M. Martin's Babysitter's Club series. I think she read every one at least once and most of them multiple times. She actually has saved all of the books and won't even think about parting with them. She even convinced me to read one of her favorite Babysitter's Club books to see what all the fuss was about -- I couldn't keep all of the characters straight but I admit to seeing the attraction for tween girls!

When I learned that Ms. Martin is writing a new historical fiction series called Family Tree aimed at girls in grades 3 through 7, I figured that these novels might be more my speed. The idea behind the series is that it follows four generations of girls through good times and bad. The first book in the series is called BETTER TO WISH and it tells the story of Abby. I guess the next three books will follow Abby's daughter, grand-daughter, and great grand-daughter.

BETTER TO WISH begins in 1930 when Abby Nichols is eight years old. Her father works all of the time and extremely short-tempered, and her mother is suffering from depression after the loss of two babies. Abby and her younger sister do their best not to rock the boat, but Abby can't help but upset her father by hanging out with kids that he considers to be beneath her.

Soon, Abby's life is full of changes. Her father becomes successful and the family moves to the other side of town. In addition, her family also welcomes some new members. However, Abby learns that with change comes some difficult decisions. As Abby approaches the end of high school, she has to decide what will ultimately bring her happiness.

BETTER TO WISH is exactly the type of book I would have loved as a child. And truthfully, even though Booking Daughter is a few years past the targeted audience, I still want her to read this novel. It is a sweet story with some wonderful messages, and even though the book takes place over 80 years ago, Abby's struggles still seem relevant to today's girls. I absolutely loved it!

One thing I liked about BETTER TO WISH was that it's historical fiction. The Great Depression and the World War is mentioned along with references to bigotry and prejudice. I appreciated that, while these topics weren't fully explored, they were introduced and children might be interested enough to learn more on their own.

Another interesting thing about BETTER TO WISH was that it was much darker and less fluffy than some of Ms. Martin's other series. Abby had to deal with some pretty serious issues including depression, abuse, and grief; and the reader was able to see how Abby coped with these issues. Because this novel touches upon some very real problems, I think it's a perfect book for mother/daughter book club discussions!

Finally, I liked that the book followed Abby from a young girl to an adult. I loved seeing how Abby gained strength and courage and truly became her own woman by the end of the book. I found that her path, though difficult, was inspirational; and I admit to being extremely curious about what happens to her after the last page of the novel.

I am extremely excited about Ann M. Martin's new series Family Tree. If BETTER TO WISH is any indication, then I look forward to seeing what happens to this family in the next three books.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Anonymous said...

I was in love with The Babysitter's Club as a kid and would have eaten this new series up, too. Thanks for sharing

bermudaonion said...

I really like that time period and will have to check this one out.