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FICTION

Emma

Sweet Cherry. (Sweet Cherry Easy Classics). Sept. 2020. 96p. pap. $6.95. ISBN 9781782267522.
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Gr 2-4–The British “Sweet Cherry Easy Classics” series adapts Jane Austen in this chapter book abridgment of the matchmaking, romantic mishap novel. The beautiful art and design will attract readers and the large type, short chapters, and wide margins are perfect for the chapter book crowd. Cartoon-like illustrations are abundant, large, and attractive. The characters tend to look alike, though context clues will help readers discern the featured characters. The publisher offers lexile and GRL levels, which will be helpful to educators. This book clocks in at a GRL W, meaning the text is above the level generally recommended for the target audience. This distinction is based on the narrative content, which centers courtship and romance. Many second and third graders may not be interested in these topics, making the book more appealing to caregivers than children. Hi-lo readers may appreciate the content, but the illustrations make the book feel younger. The main plot points of the original are a hit and Austen’s narrative intent is successfully conveyed, yet the subtlety of the original, including the nuances of the title character, is lost in the abridgment. Only available in paperback, school and public library circulation will be limited.
VERDICT Subject matter and format limit library use. Will appeal to well-meaning adults excited to share a beloved favorite with the young reader in their life.

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