FICTION

Annie B., Made for TV

240p. Perseus/Running Pr. Jun. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780762463855.
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Gr 3–5—Annie and her "sometimes best friend" Savannah are auditioning for a chance to be on a new children's TV show, The Cat's Meow. Annie's dad calls her a "wrinventor," a writer and inventor, because ideas for quirky products pop into her head in moments of crisis, along with the advertisements to accompany them. Her inventions include an air freshener necklace for masking revolting school cafeteria smells and sticky buttons that wearers can twist off and on in times of stress. Unfortunately, Annie doesn't always recognize her own gifts and often compares herself to Savannah, who has just won the Heart of the Quail Award for best student. Dealing with themes of self-acceptance and jealousy, Dixon's story keeps the drama firmly in the middle grade range. Sophisticated readers may find the plot light and the humor corny; Annie's dad makes up words like "confusometrics" and "fantabulous," and her teacher wears funny hats in class. Illustrations and cover art suggest a younger audience than the age of the protagonist.
VERDICT A light and humorous story that will be best received by younger middle grade readers seeking gentler fare than "The Dork Diaries."

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