Anne Dares: Inspired by Anne of Green Gables

Tundra. (An Anne Chapter Book). Bk. 5. Oct. 2023. 72p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780735272101.
K-Gr 4–Anne of Green Gables, considered by Mark Twain “the dearest and most loveable child in fiction since the immortal Alice,” gets the emerging reader chapter book treatment, perfect for nostalgic caregivers who want to give early readers a taste of Avonlea. This latest installment features one of the classic scenes from the original, when Josie Pye dares Anne to walk the ridgepole of a house. In this adaptation, L.M. Montgomery’s highly descriptive original is carefully shorn, until just the sleek shape of the event remains—Anne’s relationships with Josie and Diana, as well as Anne’s inner thoughts and impulsive behavior. The author includes a few crucial pieces of Anne’s dialogue to retain her characteristic love of the dramatic and her penchant for big words, and deftly weaves this in with another small moment of Anne’s story: that of Anne’s puffed sleeve scenes and the affection Matthew has for Anne. The second story is not quite as well contained as the first but does provide a glimpse into Anne and Matthew’s deep, but quiet, love for each other. The clearly written text is accompanied by quaint and whimsical drawings; the end papers in particular deserve a second glance. The series is a simple, bite-sized appetizer for early elementary readers who love realistic, old-fashioned fiction, such as Jacqueline Kelly’s “Calpurnia Tate.”
VERDICT These chapter books will whet children’s appetite for reading many other Anne of Green Gables adaptations, or perhaps the unabridged original, in all its beautifully purple prose.

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