cover image Piper Reed: Navy Brat

Piper Reed: Navy Brat

Kimberly Willis Holt, , illus. by Christine Davenier. . Holt, $14.95 (146pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-8197-8

Crisp writing from a National Book Award winner, and a Navy-family backdrop, raise this otherwise formulaic chapter-book series opener several notches above average. Piper, an independent-minded fourth grader and the narrator here, is hardly thrilled when her father, a Navy aviation mechanic known to his family as Chief, announces that he has been reassigned and the family will be moving from San Diego to Pensacola, Fla., the home of the famous Blue Angels flight team. When they arrive at their new home (after an attenuated cross-country drive that includes a visit with grandparents in Louisiana), she composes a “Why-I-Wish-We’d-Never-Moved list,” which includes leaving behind her tree house and her very own bedroom (she now shares a room with her younger sister). On the plus side, Piper’s parents let her and her two sisters get a dog and, since her choice of breed is nixed, Piper gets to choose its name (Bruna). Before long, Piper sees the Blue Angels soar overhead and decides that she wants to join their elite team when she grows up—and settles firmly into her new environment. Holt (When Zachary Beaver Came to Town ) relays quotidian events with humor and insight, believably portraying a likable girl’s rapport with her siblings and parents. Davenier’s (The First Thing My Mama Told Me ) dynamic line drawings convey the narrator’s spunky personality. Ages 8-11. (Aug.)