Outgoing Ava loves her older sister, Pip, but can’t understand why Pip is so reserved and never seems to make friends with others. When Ava uses her writing talents to help her sister overcome her shyness, both girls learn the impact their words and stories can have on the world around them.
Title: Ava and Pip
Author: Carol Weston
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Publication date: March 4, 2014
I received Ava and Pip from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Ava and Pip is a middle grade book on the younger side of that age range. Ava, the narrator, is ten years old. I usually prefer middle grade books featuring girls a year or two older, so I think for me, it would have been better if it had been narrated by Pip, who turns thirteen during the book. Of course, that would have made it a completely different book. For what it is, though, it’s an entertaining book with a lot of lessons for Ava.
Ava is the outgoing sister in the Wren family. The Wrens are obsessed with wordplay. They love palindromes, especially, but also homonyms, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Each one of them (Mom Anna, Dad Bob, and daughters Pip and Ava) have a palindrome for a name. Ava notices palindromes everywhere, even in sentences, and spells them out. It’s constant. It’s cute at first, then quickly grows to be little annoying for me, but younger readers in the target age range might like it.
Ava is a fun character who isn’t perfect. She makes a lot of mistakes and she wrestles with what to do about them. She doesn’t want to run to her parents to solve everything for her, partly because she’s afraid of what they’re going to say. She’s already feeling neglected because they pay more attention to her sister Pip. There’s a great scene when Ava finally goes to her mother about her feelings and her mom explains that they worry more about Pip because she doesn’t fly (more wordplay, since their last name is Wren and Pip was a preemie they called their Early Bird).
Ava’s older sister Pip is extremely shy with no friends. It’s a little hard for me to believe that Pip doesn’t have a single friend. In my experience most kids who have gone to the same school for a long time have at least one friend. If not, there’s usually a reason why and Pip doesn’t seem weird, just shy. She’s so shy that her teachers have even given up on calling on her in class. She’s also becoming a teenager and noticing boys, so she’s a becoming a little more reserved and moody at home. Ava wants to help her sister socially and with the aid of another girl in Pip’s class, sends Pip out on assignments such as talking to one new person a day.
Written in diary format, Ava and Pip is educational for young readers without being obvious or obnoxious about it. Shy kids can try out the same things Pip did to put themselves out there and outgoing kids like Ava can take away a little more understanding about the more introverted kids. It’s always good for people to learn to see things from the other side.