Synopses & Reviews
In this tender novel set in 1955 Mill Town, Wisconsin, Sandra Kring explores the complicated bond between mothers and daughters, the pressure to conform, and the meaning of friendship and family.
Ten-year-old Isabella “Teaspoon” Marlene has been a handful ever since her mother, Catty, dumped her with an old boyfriend and ran off to Hollywood. Teaspoon fights, fibs, never stops singing, and is as unpredictable and fearless as a puppy off its leash. Still, Teddy Favors, a man who has taken his share of kicks, is determined to raise her right.
Teaspoon wants to be better for Teddy—even if that means agreeing to take part in a do-gooder mentorship program and being paired up with Brenda Bloom, the beautiful reigning Sweetheart of Mill Town. Against all odds, as the summer passes, this unlikely duo discover a special friendship as they face personal challenges, determined to follow their hearts instead of convention.
It’s while Brenda and Teaspoon are putting together the grandest show the Starlight Theater has ever seen that Catty returns to Mill Town, shattering illusions and testing loyalties. But by the final curtain call, one determined little girl shows an entire town the healing that can happen when you let your heart take center stage.
"The summer of 1955 is a tough one for 10-year-old ragamuffin Isabella, nicknamed Teaspoon, who's been enlisted into a Big Sister style program that's supposed to teach her civilized behavior. Five years earlier, Teaspoon's mother took off for Hollywood, leaving her boyfriend, Teddy, and her daughter to take care of each other; now a full-fledged tomboy, Teaspoon is paired in the program with popular 18-year-old Brenda Bloom, whose mother owns the movie theater in their suburban Milwaukee town. Sketched with nostalgic sweetness, this hard-luck coming-of-age story sees Teaspoon discovering her talent for singing while getting caught up in plans for the theater's gala re-opening, her mother's promised return, Teddy's budding relationship with Sunday school teacher Miss Tuckle, and Brenda's romantic dilemmas. Kring (The Book of Bright Ideas) gives her young, put-upon protagonist an authentically weary voice, but telegraphs her plot revelations, provoking little emotion beyond the mildly touching. Though the chatterbox heroine makes an engaging narrator, readers may be reminded more of Dennis the Menace than Anne of Green Gables." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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About the Author
Sandra Kring lives in Wisconsin. Her debut novel, Carry Me Home, was a BookSense Notable Pick and a 2005 Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award nominee. The Book of Bright Ideas was a 2006 Target Bookmarked™ selection and was named to the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list in 2007.