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

by Katherine Hannigan

Nine-year-old Ida B. Applewood adores her parents, and her best friends are the apple... read more

Nine-year-old Ida B. Applewood adores her parents, and her best friends are the apple trees in her family’s Wisconsin orchards. A good heart-to-heart with the trees usually leaves her feeling fine. But one day the trees warn that change is coming, and not long after, Ida B.’s mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Homeschooled since kindergarten, Ida B. is dismayed when she’s sent to public school because her mother is too sick to teach her. Then her parents must sell some of the orchard land—and her beloved trees—in order to pay medical bills. Katherine Hannigan’s smart, sensitive, funny protagonist is wise beyond her years, but still very much a child—one who has been so well loved and cared for that she bears both the gift and burden of never having learned before that the universe is not constant. It’s a shift she isn’t prepared for. Unwilling to forgive her parents for what she sees as one betrayal after another, Ida B. closes her heart. She shuts everyone out, only to discover that causing pain in others is worse than anything she has endured. Ida B.’s loving parents (who exhibit realistic frustration and anger at Ida B.’s behavior) and her terrific fourth-grade teacher give her the time and space she needs to figure out where things went wrong and how to begin to make them right again. Hannigan’s quiet story hums with lyrical descriptions of the natural world, and of human nature, too. (Ages 9–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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