An admirable foray into novel-writing by a young writer.


Perky Girl: The Amazing Life of Bienna Molo

A children’s novel by a 9-year-old author that follows the life an exceptionally perky girl who experiences mostly good things in life.

The book opens on a very young Bienna Molo when she’s just about to start preschool. She’s nervous about attending class and afraid that the other kids will make fun of her because she wears glasses. However, when she finally does reveal her eyewear, the class accepts her and is proud of her courage. This pattern continues throughout the book as readers follow Bienna through school, her career, and ultimately to her death at the age of 95. Although she encounters challenges—her older sister ran away when Bienna was 2, and at another point, a girl is mean to Bienna—these problems are generally solved very easily, often within the span of a page. The speed of these resolutions often makes the book read like a set of small, separate anecdotes without much continuity. For example, one day, Bienna has a birthday party, and the next chapter, out of the blue, her parents have a new baby, and both events are treated with the same significance. Bienna’s various experiences don’t seem to leave her in any way altered, and her voice doesn’t really change as she ages. This is understandable in a book written by a 9-year-old author, however, as it’s very unlikely that someone so young would be able to imbue a story of such scope with maturity and reflection. As it is, the book is a very impressive set of vignettes, considering its provenance.

An admirable foray into novel-writing by a young writer.

Pub Date: March 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4602-2556-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2015

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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