Ida B. has a near-perfect life; she lives with her mama and daddy on a farm with an orchard, and they all spend their days together, learning, laughing, and loving. For a young child, it's the perfect existence. When she's five years old, Ida B. is sent to pre-school, which turns out to be a bust. So Ida B. is homeschooled, where she can spend her free time with the trees, the hills, and the brook. Life, in general, is about as pefect as pie.
But then tragedy strikes. Mama has cancer and has to spend time in the hospital. When she's released, there are medical treatments that take the shine from her eyes. Ida B. gets lost in the shuffle of a new kind of life. Mama is too sick to care for her, daddy decides they have to sell some of the orchard to pay for the medical bills, and worst of all, Ida B. will have to go back to school.
Katherine Hannigan has written the perfect young reader novel. It is simultaneously charming and heartwarming, moving and realistic. Ida B. is a wonderful character who makes friends of the trees and the brook around her home. Her mind is quick and imaginitive, and I loved her immediately. Best about this novel, is that it really is for all ages. There is something about Ida B. that we can all relate to. Everyone has experienced some sadness or loss that has made us want to turn off our hearts forever. Ida B.'s story reminds us that we can't stay stone forever.
I have to mention that something about this book made me think of Pom Pom the whole time. Maybe it's the vivacity of Ida B. or her community with nature, but this is a character who will warm your heart from page one.