The Becket List: A Blackberry Farm Story
The Becket List: A Blackberry Farm Story
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Annotation: When New York City native Becket Branch moves to the country with her family to help run her grandmother's farm and store, she finds that new friends, hostile chickens, sour lemonade and mischief are only the beginnings of her new life.
Catalog Number: #184395
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Workman Pub. Co.
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Pham, LeUyen,
Pages: 202 pages
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: 1-616-20790-6
ISBN 13: 978-1-616-20790-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018027330
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
A (nearly) 10-year-old girl adjusts to country living after moving with her family from the city.City child Rebecca renames herself Becket when she moves with her family to the country, where her veterinarian parents take over the vet clinic near the farm where her father grew up. Becket is noisy, confident, and full of life, narrating in an enthusiastic first person, present tense. She announces "Beautiful Alerts" when she sees beauty—a sunset, a thunderstorm, Gran—and says something when she sees something, often to amusing effect ("Stranger Danger!" she warns her mother at the country train station, when a man asks the time). In fact, Becket is a regular laundry list of confidently delivered safety sayings, and it's just one of her many original and sparkling traits. What doesn't sparkle, however, is the story's subtle undercurrent of admonition directed at Becket's boisterousness and confidence. "A little lower," the camp counselor tells her. "Lower the volume," her father says. These messages, underscoring the societal notion that girls should be quiet and self-effacing, are not delivered to boy characters and are, thankfully, ignored by Becket. Otherwise, the storyline is warm and amusing as Becket and her two siblings navigate their new life on a farm. A brown-skinned family from Peru on a nearby alpaca farm adds some diversity, as do the black-presenting friends who visit the Branches from the city; the Branches themselves are white. Pham's energetic spot art enhances Griffin's characterizations.The ebullience of an irrepressible female protagonist is occasionally threatened by gender-typing in this otherwise entertaining story. (Fiction. 8-10)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Rebecca has been a city kid her whole life, but now that her parents are taking over a rural animal clinic, the family is going to help Gran run things on Blackberry Farm, where her dad grew up. Unlike for her twin brother, Nicholas, and her older sister, Caroline, change isn't hard for Rebecca. Determined not to become a country bumpkin, she coins the cool-kid nickname Becket and peels her eyes for all the "Beautiful Alerts" she can spot in the countryside. But the local summer camp ich should be a banana-split amount of fun only a bran-muffin amount of fun. As Nicholas makes more friends than she does, Becket begins to droop. On top of that, barnyard chores are harder than she expected and involve far more crazy chickens. This is not just a terrific book about sharing friends with siblings, rolling with changes, and the difficulty of making new friends after a move; it is also (spoiler alert) a terrific, gentle, earnest book for coping with pet loss. Given the quality of Griffin's prolific body of work, her humor, pathos, quick character development, and enjoyable dialogue are just as good as ever, and Pham's illustrations (even in their unfinished form) are charming and beautifully humorous in how they capture emotional expression. A sparkling story of weathering change.
Word Count: 26,548
Reading Level: 4.3
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.3 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 500549 / grade: Middle Grades

Everything is changing for Becket Branch. From subways to sidewalks to safety rules, she is a city kid born and raised. Now the Branch family is trading urban bustle for big green fields and moving to help their gran on Blackberry Farm, where Becket has to make sense of new routines, from feeding animals to baling hay. But Becket is ready! She even makes her own "Becket List" for How to Be a Country Kid. Things don't always work out the way she planned, but whether it's selling mouth-puckering lemonade, feeding hostile hens, or trying to make a new best friend, Becket is determined to use her city smarts to get a grip on country living. Get ready to yell "Beautiful Alert!" along with Becket as she mucks through the messy, exuberant experience of change she didn't ask for, in a story that sparkles with quirky characters, cheerful humor, and unexpected adventures.

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