Monday, June 30, 2014

The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by Jessica Lawson, Iacopo Bruno (Illustrated by)

I read about Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer during my school days and remember just a few mentions of Becky Thatcher.  Having an opportunity to read about her sounded like fun, and it was!

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published in July, so check for a copy at your local bookstore.

This story was a lot more serious than I expected.  Becky's older brother died from an illness and they had moved to this new town.  Becky's father is a judge and he gets a position quickly.  Becky's mom has withdrawn inside herself and hardly even speaks to them.  Becky worries her mother is pushing her away.  That's a lot for a little one to deal with.  And then there's the new school and students there.

It seems Tom Sawyer's half-brother is a nice guy and he walks Becky to school.  Some bully boys give her bad time and she ends up being late for class.  The teacher isn't buying any excuses until someone else speaks up for her.  It saves her from the ruler but doesn't endear the teacher to her.

Becky keeps score in her head.  Anyone who is mean to her is likely to find a stink bug in their desk or maybe their shoe.  She refuses to back down or give up.  And she's also determined to have adventures, just like she promised Jon, her dead brother.  

There are robbers in town, the boys and Becky and her friend are on a quest to steal from the "witch", and their teacher gets sick.  If that's not enough excitement, Becky tries to protect the "witch" (who's actually a nice lady) and makes her look even more guilty of tampering with a grave.  She can't tell who she saw do it, so she's stuck.  The problem is that the robbers saw her, and they're after her now.

Reading about Becky Thatcher isn't boring and I found it great fun.  I think the author depicted the time period appropriately and I found her characters believable.  Give your middle grade readers a touch of the past.  It will make them smile.

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