cover image Johnny May Grows Up

Johnny May Grows Up

Robbie Branscum. HarperCollins Publishers, $11.95 (88pp) ISBN 978-0-06-020606-2

The heroine of the second Johnny May book has grown up quite a bit since she was first introduced as a spunky 11-year-old Arkansas girl in The Adventures of Johnny May. Johnny May, now 13, is still concerned about earning enough money to support herself and her grandparents, but she is also worried about her boyfriend, Aron, who attends high school in town. In an attempt to keep up with Aron's sophisticated town friends, Johnny May decides to lose weight and learn all she can about the world outside her farm by reading library books. Johnny May soon finds out, however, that it is easier to lose weight and learn from books than it is to live up to one's own standards. Branscum has written a moving novel about a girl's struggle to grow up and at the same time be true to herself. But readers may have difficulty reconciling the far more worldly cares of this older Johnny May with the naively innocent girl in the first book. Marstall's portrait-like stills contribute amiably to the delineation of the characters. Ages 9-12. (October)