Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Birdie's Billions

Cohn, Edith. Birdie's Billions
December 14th 2021 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
ARC provided by Follett First Look

Birdie and her mom are struggling. Her father has been in prison for as long as she can remember, and her mother takes odd jobs, most recently, cleaning houses. When Birdie tags along and causes some damage with her skateboard, her mother loses her job and must find a new one. Birdie's best friend, Hailey, has stopped hanging out with her because the two girls mader a bad decision to cross the lake to look into houses being built and get very wet, and Hailey's mother thinks that Birdie is a bad influence. Birdie's attempts at trespassiing continue, however, and when she and her cousin Kellog are exploring an abandoned house, she finds a lot of money hidden in a wall that has been smashed in. A LOT of money-- $500,000! She fills her back pack, goes back to get more, and plots how she will get the money to her mother. SHe decides that mailing it from the store of a classmate will work, and her mother, while sceptical, thinks that perhaps the money has come from her elderly father, and is willing to spend it on things to make life easier. Birdie gets some new clothes, is able to pay for a field trip, and gets Hailey an expensive present to try to win her back. When she mails even more money, her mother is a bit warier. Will Birdie ever find the source of the money and come clean to her mother, even if it means making do?
Strengths: There's a certain wish fulfilment in reading about children who come into a lot of money. Most of the ones I have read (Miklowitz's 1989 Suddenly Super Rich, Haworth's 2012 A Whole Lot of Lucky, Smith's 2017 Windfall, West's 2017 Lucky in Love, and McAnulty's 2020 Millionaires for a Month) concern winning lotteries, which lacks the drama of found money that has a mystyer attached. The money doesn't really make that much of a difference in Birdie's life, and the stress accompanying hiding the secret is intense. Clearly, other things in Birdie's life need to be worked out, and when she finally comes clean, circumstances start to improve even though the money isn't there. 
Weaknesses: This seemed a bit young for my students, but I think elementary students would love it. 
What I really think:Keeping a grasp on what my students like is an ongoing process; a couple have even wanted to read novels in verse lately, which has not happened in the 20 years I have been at my library! A lot of the middle grade books have seemed young lately, but then, so do my students. There's been a lot of behavior that I can't see flying at elementary schools (pushing in the hallway, running, and the handwriting is beyond horrible!), so maybe students will be wanting books that skew a bit younger. I'm going to wait on this title for now, but might end up purchasing it. 

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. A much esteemed high school principal who is friendly with my next door neighbors got punched/knocked unconscious by a female student last month. I don't see how that woman who ever feel comfortable returning to the school so I hope her union prevents her from having to. I cannot imagine such behavior at my high school where my cutting gym when it was swimming was treated like a high crime and misdemeanor.