Saturday, December 22, 2012

Paula Danziger's Amber Brown is Tickled Pink by Bruce Coville and Elizabeth Levy

I have always had a soft spot for the Amber Brown series.  As a teacher, I watched one of my 4th graders go from not reading to devouring Amber's adventures, as well as other Paula Danziger novels.  I thought that Paula's sudden death in 2004 would be the end of Amber, and who knows what other charming novels she could have written had she lived.  But I was wrong, there would be at least one more Amber Brown book for kids to discover how much they like to read.  Paula's best friends Bruce Coville and Elizabeth Levy teamed up to give us Amber Brown is Tickled Pink.

But does it work?  Is Amber the same Amber she always was, dealing with her joys and sorrows as she learns some important life lessons in the same charmingly 'I, Amber Brown' way?

You bet it does and it is almost seamless.

And best of all, the whimsical illustrations by Tony Ross, who did the other Amber Brown books, are back, too and help to provide a nice sense of continuity

In Amber's latest adventure, her mother is about to get married to Max and Amber couldn't be happier.  Not only does she get to be "best child" at the wedding, but it means her best friend Justin and his family will be there all the way from Alabama, and her dad is seeing a counselor to help him move on with his life and get pass his bitterness over being divorced from Amber's mother.

But suddenly there is trouble in paradise.  Amber's mom is worried about money and wants to just go to City Hall to get married and punk on the reception.  Which means no Justin visiting and telling her friends Brandi and Kelly they are disinvited from the reception party.

To top it all off, Amber's dad is making very snarky remarks about the wedding and Max and causing this 9 year old a great deal of unhappiness, and almost ruining their perfect weekend together.

So who would have thought the a possible affordable solution for the wedding and reception would be found through her nose-picking classmate  Fredrich?  But even after Amber hatches what seems to be the perfect plan, can she pull it off?  And will she be able to get her dad in line, too?

Fans of Amber already know some of the trials and tribulations she has had to deal with over the course of the series and so many of them caused by the adults in her life.  Her best friend Justin's move to Alabama, her parents separation and divorce, her father's new job in Paris, and her mother's new boyfriend now fiancee.  And then there is school - homework, skunks, a girl who also has a two color name.

But these realistic situations told in a first person narrative are exactly the kinds of everyday issues that Amber's young readers are often also dealing with, and for some the stories may be just entertaining, but for others, they may bring moments of solace and solidarity, they way they did for my student.

And I, Alex Baugh, am happy to see Amber's return.

This book is recommended for readers age 7+
This book was obtained from the publisher.


  1. My daughter (8 - 2nd grade) loves Amber Brown and counts Danziger among her favorite authors.

  2. Yeah, I also went through an Amber Brown period with my daughter, so it was fun revisiting her. I'm glad your daughter is a reader. Danziger was a great kids' writer.


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