by Sarah Weeks, published 2011
“Ipswitch, Pennsyvlania, is a small town. In July of 1955, the population was one hundred and sixty-two. People who visited Ipswitch commented on what a happy place it was. Folks whistled when they walked down the streets, neighbors were downright neighborly…”
I wonder when a children’s book qualifies as historical fiction. Is 1955 historical enough? Everything about this children’s book reminds me of the 1950s, from the writing style to the characters and plot. It’s kind of odd to see one’s own lifetime written as history! However, once I got passed that feeling of oddness, the story itself in this book is fun. A very easy-to-read mystery that needs to be solved by two young people, both about 10 or 11 years old.
At the heart of this children’s book is friendship in all its forms. Friendship between the two young people, Alice and Charlie; between Alice and her Aunt Polly; between Polly and her whole town. Like the pies that are featured (recipes included) throughout the book, this children’s book is sweet through and through. If your child has a sweet tooth and a soft heart, this is an excellent book for them. No rough stuff, no violence, lots of childish errors and misunderstandings, and a heartwarming ending.
Since it is based in real life, I recommend it for children who are moving out of the world of fairies and fantasy, 8 and up. And it may be too tame for age 12. It’s also written in simple language which makes it good for newer readers. As an added feature, it’s filled with the pie recipes, hopefully encourage some lovely baking projects as well. Makes it perfect for a home school curriculum. Eat, laugh and read!