Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ida B. and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World

This was the cutest funniest book I have read in a long time. I was so sad when it ended, I just might have to read it again. It's the best example of a middle grade novel that I have found since I read Polly Horvath's Everything on a Waffle, or at least the kind of middle grade books I like to read. The humor was so well written (natural, not jokey) and Ida B was such a unique character.

Ida B's life is perfect in her mind until her mother is diagnosed with cancer and they are forced to sell off a portion of their land. Ida B has to go to public school after being homeschooled her entire life. She is deeply betrayed and the book takes a swift turn from light and funny to dark and angry, although much of the humor still remains.

I should stop reading reviews of books, because I'm pretty upset to find a lot of people (mostly adults) felt the book was contrived and a cheap knock-off of Because of Winn-Dixie. I agree that I would categorize Ida B and Winn Dixie together, but I never would have considered one a knock off of the other. Another person was annoyed that nobody has noticed Ida B, Walk Two Moons, Winn-Dixie, and Everything on a Waffle are all the same story. I agree they have similarities: they target the same age group, involve the death/abandonment or possible death of a parent, and are written in the voice of a middle grade girl, but they each take up their own space on the book shelves. I think each of the narrating girls are as different as four 10-12 year old girls you'd stumble upon in real life. They each have their own story, and tell it in a different way.


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