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 beginning.
Catalog Number: #184395
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Workman Pub. Co.
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Pham, LeUyen,
Pages: 202 pages
Availability: Available
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)
Publishers Weekly
After her veterinarian parents decide to move from the city to live on Gran-s Blackberry Farm, Becket Branch, 9, doesn-t think she-ll miss much-except, maybe, her best friend Caleb, the apartment she-s grown up in, and the egg and cheese on a roll from Sugarman-s Deli. Still, she is determined to put on a brave, happy face so that her twin brother, Nicholas, won-t be even more upset about the move then he already is. Armed with her growing list, -How to Be a Country Kid,- Becket is ready to have new adventures (standing up to a mean chicken, attending Young Explorers Camp), make new friends, and (she hopes) get a dog. Things don-t end up going the way she plans, though, and she soon discovers that country living isn-t as easy as she-d thought. Heartwarming prose by Griffin (the Oodlethunks series) is as energetic as Becket herself, while expressive spot art by Pham (Stop That Yawn!) reinforces the story-s action and breaks up the text for younger readers. In the end, Becket learns to take Gran-s message to heart: -That-s life.... Most reliable thing about it are the twists and turns.- Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7-11. (Apr.)
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
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.4 / points:7.0 / quiz:Q76802
Lexile: 710L

Young middle-grade readers coping with change in their own lives will wonder and explore with the bold and intrepid Becket Branch when her family's move from the city to a country farm means big changes. Illustrations.

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