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ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery

As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever . . . but will the Cuthberts send her back to to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not what they expected—a skinny girl with fiery red hair and a temper to match. If only she can convince them to let her stay, she’ll try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes and blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind. Anne is not like anyone else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special—a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreams of the day when she can call herself Anne of Green Gables.


Title : Anne of Green Gables
Author : L.M. Montgomery
Series : Anne of Green Gables (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 308
Genre : classic / children’s novel
Publisher : L.C. Page & Co.
Release Date : June 13, 1908

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

It’ll perhaps be a shock to some that I, a Canadian, had never before read Anne of Green Gables. Or watched any of the various adaptations. I, in fact, knew little to nothing about this beloved world. Somehow this one just passed me by and, considering all the reading I had done as a wee child, I couldn’t tell you why. It being a favourite of my blog buddy’s, however, was a source of constant gentle mockery and side-eye. So she didn’t hesitate a moment to recommend this to me when I said I was tackling the Twelve Books in Twelve Months as suggested by friends challenge. And so here we are.

I admit, I had some trepidation going into a novel that so many grew up with and cherished and few likely experienced for the first time as adults. Compounded by the fact that it’s a classic and obviously written for the time, well. I didn’t expect this would work for. But I was surprised how much I found myself enjoying the read.

My one major complaint, of course, were the pages and pages (and pages.. and pages..) of monologues by little miss Anne Shirley herself. At first, it was cute. By the mid-point? I was tired. My eyes started to glaze. Any feelings of cuteness had expired amongst the endless recitations and constant dramatics. And just when I thought I’d have to put the book down and try again later, we turned a corner. Anne grew up just enough. Became more introspective (there was a lovely passage I forgot to highlight, something about how she’d pruned herself a bit, something she reflected on when other characters questioned why she wasn’t as much as chatterbox as she’d been) and I really appreciated that — not just because it gave me a break from the monologues but because it was such a timely and lovely bit of maturity. But unfortunately some of the damage was done and, character growth or no, I was looking forward to the story wrapping up (for now).

As for the other characters, well. I’ve always heard or seen of things related to Anne and Gilbert but sans context I never knew much about it beyond that there was some kind of hate or rivalry between them. And, now that I understand some of it, I really adored their dynamic. I especially liked how she always stopped herself from saying his name outright. And I liked, most, their little truce at the end of this first book.

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert were the other standouts. I thought their differences, their dynamic with Anne, and how everything about what they expected out of this little orphan changed so quickly, was sweet. My favourite scene of the entire book might be the chapter we first meet Anne on the drive home with Matthew. That stuck with me.

While this might not have any lifechanging impact on me, the way it has for so many (though it’s still early to say for sure!), overall, I had a pretty good time in Avonlea and will definitely be reading on. Hopefully I’ll enjoy things a little more as Anne continues to get older but really it was only those endless, tiresome, eyes-glazing-over, monologues that hurt my experience. Because I was invested enough in this little place, with these people, to even get a wee bit emotional over a certain sad chapter. So, that says a lot, even if I am a notorious sap.

So thank you, Micky, for this recommendation and I hope to add this series to my various goals for the year so as to read them all before the end of 2023.

THE BARNABUS PROJECT by The Fan Brothers

In a world built for Perfect Pets, Barnabus is a Failed Project, half mouse, half elephant, kept out of sight until his dreams of freedom lead him and his misfit friends on a perilous adventure. A stunning picture book from international bestsellers The Fan Brothers, joined by their brother Devin Fan.

Deep underground beneath Perfect Pets, where children can buy genetically engineered “perfect” creatures, there is a secret lab. Barnabus and his friends live in this lab, but none of them is perfect. They are all Failed Projects. Barnabus has never been outside his tiny bell jar, yet he dreams of one day seeing the world above ground that his pal Pip the cockroach has told him about: a world with green hills and trees, and buildings that reach all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars. But Barnabus may have to reach the outside world sooner than he thought, because the Green Rubber Suits are about to recycle all Failed Projects . . . and Barnabus doesn’t want to be made into a fluffier pet with bigger eyes. He just wants to be himself. So he decides it’s time for he and the others to escape. With his little trunk and a lot of cooperation and courage, Barnabus sets out to find freedom — and a place where he and his friends can finally be accepted for who they are.

This suspenseful, poignant and magical story about following your dreams and finding where you truly belong will draw readers into a surreal, lushly detailed world in which perfection really means being true to yourself and your friends.


Title : The Barnabus Project
Author : The Fan Brothers
Format : eBook
Page Count : 72
Genre : picture books / fantasy / children
Publisher : Tundra Books
Release Date : September 1, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

I’m rating this a four solely from my, obviously, non-child perspective. As an adult I absolutely loved this story about imperfectness and the importance of being yourself, no matter what the world around you tells you.

I agree with some other reviews that maybe this is perhaps a shade darker than what is expected, or wanted, of children’s books so maybe this would be for the older range of younger children (I don’t even know what the age range is for this one, to be fair). But I think it’s still an important message; even if the way it’s delivered isn’t the standard happily ever after. It is also a little rushed near the end and I think an extra few pages to flesh things out a bit would’ve been helpful. Will kids notice though? Likely not.

Also, the art? Absolutely stunning. So creative, colourful, and the perspectives were delightful.

This is definitely a contender for my nieces when they get a little older.