Friday, March 5, 2010

Abigail Iris: The Pet Project by Lisa Glatt and Suzanne Greenberg, illustrated by Joy Allen

Why don't I have enough budget to buy all the cute beginning chapter girl series out there? Why? Why? Well, at least I can put Abigail Iris on the top of my wishlist and hope money will be left in the budget at the end of the year....

Abigail Iris knows exactly what she wants for her half-birthday; an adorable kitten from the adoption group at the farmer's market. When she gets her wish, everything seems to be working out perfectly....but then things go wrong.

I haven't read the first Abigail Iris story (although it's now on my to read list!) but what set this story apart from the other little girl series is the strong realism of the story and sweet character of Abigail Iris. She's not a perfect little girl; she squabbles with her siblings and is whiny and selfish on occasion. Her family is realistic and warm; they have financial difficulties, arguments, and her parents' divorce isn't the picture-perfect glossy story I see so often in beginning chapter books. But Abigail is knows when she's being unreasonable and selfish and makes an effort to fix things that have gone wrong. Her family is warm and caring and works through their problems together.

Verdict: Joy Allen's charming black and white illustrations bring to life this story about friendship, family, and growing up. Hand this one to kids who are comfortable with chapter books (its length and vocabulary put it a little above a beginning chapter book) and to fans of Clementine and Kennemore's Alice.

ISBN: 978-0802786579; Published March 2010 by Walker; ARC provided by the publisher at ALA

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