Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I know what I'll recommend for Christmas...

For girls ages 7-12, I just read the perfect gift book! Classic, sweet, inspiring, delightful, it's the kind of novel I would have read and reread as a girl, and it's just the kind of book I like to give as a special gift. It's Betty MacDonald's Nancy and Plum. Random House is republishing it for the fall with illustrations by Mary Grand Pre (of Harry Potter illustration fame).
I can't believe I hadn't read this!!! I am a big Mrs. Piggle -Wiggle fan, but I hadn't discovered Nancy and Plum until now.
The two loving, smart, imaginative sisters remind me of Meg and Jo March-- Nancy is 10 and a very capable seamstress and cook; Plum (Pamela) is 8 and a tomboy who dreams of becoming a cowgirl. They are orphans living with the dreadful Mrs. Monday and her horridly spoiled niece Marybelle at a boarding house for unwanted children. (Their rich bachelor Uncle John is quite oblivious.)
The book takes place over the course of a year, stretching from a Christmas Eve alone in the cheerless boarding house (and then locked out-- so the girls hunker down in the barn), through a year of little triumphs and disappointments, to a very happy, better-than-they-ever-imagined Christmas Eve in a loving home with dear Mr. and Mrs. Campbell.
Bibliophile bonus: the girls talk about their love for some of my favorite novels, including The Secret Garden, Sara Crewe (aka A Little Princess), Anne of Green Gables, and more!

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