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Friday, September 6, 2013

Kid Konnection: Family Tree Book One: Better to Wish by Ann M. Martin

Family Tree Book One: Better to Wish by Ann M. Martin
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0545359429
Published: May 2013
Hardcover, 240 pages
Ages: 8-12

My daughter and I didn't quite know what to expect with Ann M. Martin's new Family Tree series. We loved her Babysitters Club books and knew we would be in for a treat. This series is different from The Babysitters Club though. It is a series of four books that brings us four generations of one remarkable family. The family story begins with Abby's, then continues in the next three Family Tree books with Abby's daughter Dana, her granddaughter Francie, and her great-granddaughter Georgia.

So far, we think this new series is better than anything we've read by Martin. In Better to Wish, which is Book One, we are introduced to Abby, a young girl living in the 1930s in a small coastal town in Maine. The story is told from her perspective in the third person, and we watch her grow up from an eight year-old to adulthood. What struck me and my daughter is that Martin doesn't write a lighthearted story, although there are lighthearted moments throughout. Instead she brings alive childhood in the 1930s and deals with serious family issues, such as prejudice, depression, and death.

Martin creates believable characters that we come to care about. There is heartbreak, but there is also wonder and discovery. Once we got to know these characters, we really became invested in the story. Abby is a strong character and she is a good role model for today's youth. She recognized injustice and stood up for what was right, even if she could only do it silently at times. 

It was refreshing to read about the life of a young girl growing up in the 1030s and some of the issues she had to deal with. Kids today will be able to relate to Abby even though she lived in a different era. Most middle-grade books do not span a century or several generations in the same family, which is what will make this series cool for kids today—to see how things changed from one generation to the next, including how kids grew up.

I really enjoyed reading this book with my daughter and we look forward to seeing how Abby's story will continue and what will happen to some of the secondary characters. We think this series would be a great addition to school libraries, and I will request this series at my own public library.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.

Reviewed by Laura and Daughter

Disclosure: Thanks to Nikole Kritikos from Scholastic Canada for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, visit Booking Mama.


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