Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ida B

As you can see from my side bar, I've been reading Ida B by Katherine Hannigan. This was her first novel.

I'm a little behind. I was loaned this book last year by a writer friend of mine. She handed it to me and said, "Read this." Well, Cheryl, it took me a while, but I read it.

I'm not a book reviewer, but I thought I'd give you my thoughts about this book. If you follow this blog there's a good chance you are a writer (and reader) of children's books, so here goes.

Ida B. is a very unique girl. She is in the fourth grade and she has a mind of her own, so to speak. Even in Kindergarten she appeared to be very smart for her age. But her and kindergarten didn't agree with each other. She liked to make schedules, she liked to think about things and she liked being called Ida B. But the teacher would have none of that. She insisted on calling her Ida and not telling her when it would be 'time' for all the fun stuff. Ida B. says "Could you tell me now so I can make a schedule?" She wondered if she was in a class for bad children and her punishment included losing her name and never being able to make a plan again. She was so unhappy her parents started to home school Ida B, which made her very happy.

She stayed at home with her dog, her cat, the stream, the mountain, and her trees. She named the trees and talked to them every day.
Her mother gets sick and they have to sell part of their land and she has to attend public school. Needless to say, Ida B. was very unhappy. Her heart became cold and hard and she made herself and everyone around her miserable.

This was the part of the book I was not too crazy about. I found it hard to like her. In my opinion she was a very smart child and should have realized what she was doing would only make matters worse. When her mother was sick and needed her the most, she ignored her and wouldn't have anything to do with her. But that's just my opinion (I guess it's the mother in me coming out) and I guess there wouldn't be a story without Ida B.'s struggle within herself. Right?

I loved the ending chapters when she realized apologizing was like spring cleaning. First of all, you don't want to do it. . . Once you get started, though, you find out that you can't just clean out one room and be done with it; you have to do the whole house or you're tracking dirt from one place to the other. I think there is a lesson there for all of us.

In her own way she not only apologizes to Claire and her parents, but to the trees, the stream and the mountain and her cold black heart disappeared.

The book was well written. I thought the transition before and after she wrote of Ida's short stay in kindergarten could have been better, but other than that she did a wonderful job.
She is very good at description and detail.

I'm not sure if I would have chosen the sub title. . . and Her plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World. It doesn't exactly fit the story.

All in all it was a wonderful first novel for Katherine Hannigan and I only hope one day to do half as well.

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