Witherspoon’s book, illustrated by Xindi Yan and scheduled to be published next week by Flamingo Books, is the follow-up to her 2022 book, Busy Betty. The new tale follows the title character as she enlists two friends—and one reluctant dog—to stage a backyard circus for her mother’s birthday. A critic for Kirkus called the book “a sure bet for a kid-tested, puppy-approved storytime.”
Witherspoon told co-anchor Robin Roberts that the books are based on her childhood.
“[Betty] is a very spirited young girl who has all these crazy ideas about businesses she wants to build in her backyard,” she said. “The thing I really love about it is that Busy Betty learns from failure. So she always fails. Her creativity is out of control, it’s always a mess, but then she has to pull it back together, pick herself back up, and make it successful.”
Roberts asked Witherspoon if there were any characters in children’s books that stood out to her as a young reader.
“Amelia Bedelia was a big one,” Witherspoon replied. “Encyclopedia Brown, he solved all the crimes. He lived in a little Southern town and was really country. And Ramona Quimby, of course. She was this spirited, misfit little character.”
Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.