cover image Better to Wish: Family Tree #1

Better to Wish: Family Tree #1

Ann M. Martin, read by Annalie Gernert and Lorna Raver. Listening Library, unabridged, four CDs, 4.5 hrs., $30 ISBN 978-0-8041-2230-6

This first book of Martin’s new Family Tree series tells of the childhood of Abby, who lives with her parents and little sister in a small Maine town in the 1930s. Each chapter moves the story ahead a year or two, as Abby grows from a young girl excited about a carnival to a young woman who rejects her father’s insistence that she marry a wealthy neighbor’s son and moves to New York City to pursue a career. In the intervening years, Abby faces many sorrows, including her disabled little brother being sent to an institution and the deaths of her best friend and her mother. Narrator Annalie Gernert’s youthful voice makes her a good match for young Abby, and she differentiates the other characters well, from high-pitched, bubbly little sister Rose to toddler Adele and Abby’s stern, no-nonsense father. Lorna Raver effectively narrates the book’s prologue in which elderly Abby looks back at her life. Ages 8-12. A Scholastic hardcover. (May)