IDA B: . . . AND HER PLANS TO MAXIMIZE FUN, AVOID DISASTER, AND (POSSIBLY) SAVE THE WORLD by Katherine Hannigan
Ida B spends most of her time with her mother and father in their Wisconsin orchard. She has no brothers and sisters or neighbors to play with, but she has an incredibly creative imagination, and befriends all of the trees, the river, and the animals in the orchard. She tried going to public school in kindergarten, but the rules and rigid structure of her strict teacher’s classroom were so suffocating to her that her parents decided to let her stay at home and be homeschooled. But when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, everything changes for Ida B and her family. They will have to sell part of the orchard—the trees who were Ida B’s friends—in order to pay for her treatment, and perhaps worst of all, Ida B will have to start public school for fourth grade. Horrified by her parents’ betrayal, Ida B decides to harden her heart. She will go to school, but she will not enjoy herself. She will not make friends. She will not allow herself to like her warm-hearted teacher. She will feel nothing. At least she will try. . . .
Although the premise may sound depressing, Ida B is an incredibly uplifting, funny, endearing book, with a spirited, witty narrator and the wonderful teacher who softens Ida B’s hard heart. Its intended audience is upper elementary readers, although I suspect many adults will find it as relatable and touching as I do. I highly recommend it!