Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: Ida B by Katherine Hannigan

Synopsis: Ida B. Applewood believes there is never enough time for fun. That's why she's so happy to be homeschooled and to spend every free second outside with the trees and the brook. Then some not-so-great things happen in her world. Ida B has to go back to that Place of Slow but Sure Body-Cramping, Mind-Numbing, Fun-Killing Torture—school. She feels her heart getting smaller and smaller and hardening into a sharp, black stone. How can things go from righter than right to a million miles beyond wrong? Can Ida B put together a plan to get things back to just-about perfect again? (from the online description)

Review:  Ida B. is a precocious, imaginative, 9-year-old, living the “Righter than Right” life, homeschooled, on her parents farm. But when Bad Things happen, she is sent to school. Feeling betrayed by her parents, Ida B. shuts herself off from others, stuffing her heart “behind her left knee” and refusing to let anyone in – not Mrs. W, her new teacher, not Ronnie , a classmate, or Claire, a girl who offers her friendship, or even the brook or the trees or the mountain she called friends.
Told in simple, lyrical prose, Hannigan lets us walk with Ida B. as she struggles with a heart “going hard and black” as Ida B. puts it. Despite Ida B.’s age, it was easy to identify with her. Every one of us has been in a place of hurt and confusion, were it feels easier to lock away our heart, to be mean, to push others away, then to face the hurt and forgive. Hannigan does an exceptional job of captureing that experience exactly and leading Ida B. (and the reader) to the only true conclusion.
My only qualm with this book is Ida B. is rather self-aware for a fourth-grader. Smart, yes, and well-read, and given plenty of time to think might do it, but it still felt as if an adult inhabitant that small frame.
This is an excellent book for kids dealing with life-changing events in their family, or who struggle with forgiveness (both forgiving others and asking for it). This is a sweet, easy-to-read book that handles a complex subject well. Worth Reading. 

Bookmarks: 3.5 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-06-073024-2
Year Published: 2004
Date Finished: 5-3-2017
Pages: 246

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