I was vaguely aware that Jacqueline Wilson was very popular in the UK and the couple things of hers we have at our library check out consistently. So, I picked up an ARC of Cookie at ALA and decided it was time to read my first Jacqueline Wilson, spurred on by a young patron at our library who told me how much she loved these books.
Beauty Mercedes Cookson is not the pretty, perfect girl her father wants. Her mother, a fluffy, pretty, ditzy girl (she's barely older than Beauty) can't always be perfect either. His frightening rages and vocal abuse finally go too far and Beauty and her mother leave. Through a series of lucky circumstances, they find a better life and settle down happily.
If all Wilson's mothers are as "fluffy" as Mrs. Cookson, "Silly Dilly", I can see Ms. Yingling's complaint about the repetition. On the other hand, I've known quite a few moms like this - whose responsible daughters ended up taking over the household. I think it's unrealistic to expect Mrs. Cookson to be a mature, logical adult, as it's stressed throughout the book that she's never had the chance to be an adult. But although she makes a lot of foolish mistakes, she really tries hard to do what's best for her daughter. And Beauty, renamed Cookie, does end up with a better life. Wish fulfillment? Of course. We all need a little fluff in our lives.
Verdict: This is a fun, escapist read with some darker moments.
ISBN: 978-1596435346; Published September 2009 by Roaring Brook; ARC provided by publisher at ALA 2009