Fourth grader Ida B. Applewood takes me back to my own days as a jolly, curious fourth grader. Ready for any and everything the world had planned for me. Though her tactics and perspective on life may be far from very practical, she’s hilarious and one of those kids that you know wouldn’t be too afraid to carry on a conversation with an adult. She speaks her mind and has one of the biggest hearts I have ever had the pleasure of being invited to in a story.
Ida’s story is one of family unity, love, and simple living. Her family, which consists of her moody cat, Lulu, the family dog, Rufus, who’s always as happy as can be, the other lovable Ida known as Mama, and the hardworking, though ever-present Daddy (Evan). As the only child, Ida is the center of her parent’s world and their unconditional love for her seeps through the pages like freshly warmed-up maple syrup atop pancakes. I’m a southern girl, born and raised in Texas, so their southern drawl, slang, and hospitality, “Yes, Ma’am, Yes, Sir, No Ma’am, No, Sir” further made me instantly fall in love with the story within only a matter of pages.
Like all great stories though, heartbreak strikes somewhere, and in Ida’s story it heads straight for the soul as her bubbly, always on the go Mama is abruptly diagnosed with cancer. You can imagine, especially if you have endured the pain of a parent becoming sick, or even losing a parent at a young age, how that truly effects a child emotionally and mentally. The inviting, eager Ida we, as readers, have become happily accustomed to becomes a somber, withdrawn eight year old who, still carries with her a heart of gold, though isn’t quite sure if she can still trust the world and people she loves around her anymore.
“…how do you run and play when you feel like there are bricks of the heaviest sadness weighing down every part of your body? How do you laugh and talk when there are no laughs left inside of you?”
Filled with laugh out loud moments that will stir up deep belly chuckles in people of all ages, as well as vulnerable poise that illustrates the pains and heartbreaks of a child undergoing unexpected life changes, Ida B’s story is one that will remain with me and remind me to focus and remember that:
“We don’t own the earth. We are the earth’s caretakers…we take care of it and all the things on it. And when we’re done with it, it should be left better than we found it.”
Always leave people, places, and things better than you found them, my friends.
If you enjoyed Ida B., I believe you would also enjoy:
- The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
YouTube Channel: WatchMojo.com
Featured image via Truth Is Talk