Paula Danzinger's Amber Brown Is Tickled Pink

2012. 152p. 978-0-39925-656-1.
Gr 2-5–This 10th  book in the series was written by two of Danziger’s friends after her death in 2004. Amber’s original voice rings true, delivering plenty of wordplay and hilarious, wide-eyed observations. Major changes are afoot for the child and her family; her mother and Max are getting married. Amber is thrilled to be in the wedding (she’s going to be the “best child”), but she is disturbed by the ups and downs as Max and her mom debate whether they should have a big party or simply go to City Hall. Meanwhile, she has to deal with her dad’s snarky comments about Max, find the dress, and come up with a toast. Ever insightful and resilient, Amber faces her challenges head on and recognizes that change is inevitable and difficult. The wedding, of course, is lovely, and Amber shines. Occasional artwork adds to the characters’ personalities. This lovable nine-year-old will appeal to current Amber Brown fans and undoubtedly recruit new ones.–Amanda Struckmeyer, Middleton Public Library, Madison, WI
Coville and Levy, friends of the late Danziger, continue her legacy with this new Amber Brown story. Here the topic is Amber's mom's remarriage--an event fraught with practical and emotional complications. As always, Amber navigates her days with humor. The authors get the tone just right, and Amber is as spunky as ever. Breezy black-and-white line drawings enhance the chapter book's mood.
Fans old and new will be thrilled to see the first addition to the Amber Brown series since 2004 (though knowledge of the previous books is not necessary in order to enjoy this one). Bruce Coville and Elizabeth Levy, who were close friends with the late Paula Danziger, admirably capture Amber Brown’s winning spirit. The lively first-person narrative and convincing plot and dialogue combine for an authentic, emotionally true portrayal of a child with divorced parents: “I, Amber Brown, realize that for the first time in my life something huge is happening and Dad isn’t even a tiny part of it. He can’t be and that makes me sad. Sometimes happy and sad come so close together in my life that I can’t keep track of how I’m feeling.” Throughout, humorous moments (a classmate’s nose-picking habit gets ample attention) are nicely balanced with more serious scenes (how everyone, including Amber’s dad, is reacting to the upcoming marriage between Amber’s mom and Max). Readers will appreciate that Amber tells her parents how their behavior makes her feel—she loves them both and doesn’t always like how they talk about each other—and that her parents strive to do better. Tony Ross’s lighthearted illustrations extend the pleasurable reading experience.

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