Ava Tree and the Wishes Three
Jeanne Betancourt, Author, Angela Dominguez, Illustrator , illu
Waking up on her eighth birthday, Ava tears up thinking about her parents, who died in a car accident (“Being an orphan is the saddest thing in my whole life so far, and probably forever”). She now lives with her 22-year-old brother, Jack, and the siblings sense that their father and mother are still taking care of them. Struggling to clean her pet rabbit's litter box, Ava wishes it “would use the toilet like a person” and when it suddenly does, Ava and Jack wonder if it could be a birthday gift from their mother, who had been a magician. Ava's “wishing power” seems to continue, though some of her wishes—that her parents weren't dead—go unanswered (“My other wishes came true right away,” thinks Ava. “...Maybe it is too big a wish”). Betancourt (the Pony Pals series) balances the fanciful and the real throughout—the thrill of Ava's wishes coming true versus her pangs of longing for her parents. Though some particulars unrelated to the wishes strain credibility, kids will embrace this bighearted novel and its thoughtful, resilient narrator. Ages 6–9.
Reviewed on: 03/09/2009