Title: No Borrowing, Brenda!
Recommended Ages: 8-12
Star Rating: ★★★★
1) No Borrowing, Brenda! Brenda has promised to bring cookies to today’s bake sale, but she forgot to tell her mother, and they are out of all of the ingredients that she needs. Her mother has strictly forbidden her to borrow things from their next door neighbor. Is there any way that she can obey her mother and keep her promise?
2) Satisfaction Guaranteed. When Dave first sets out to find a job, Alex warns him that there are no jobs to be had this summer. But what if Dave tries a different approach? What if Dave hires himself out – satisfaction guaranteed?
3) The Secret of the Evening News. Karen loves her grandparents, but writing to them can be so hard. Sometimes it seems as though there’s nothing to say! Can Karen find a way to write news that will be meaningful to her and interesting for them?
4) The Snake That Played Possum. Andy is all excited to be going on a campout with his good friend Jeff’s family. There are all sorts of neat museums and trails in the area – plenty to keep a smart boy occupied. But when a snake menaces Jeff’s sister, Becky, and her friend, will the outing turn out so wonderfully after all?
5) Muddy Millicent McNamara. Millicent McNamara is a collecter. Most collectors collect shells, or old books, or priceless paintings, but Millicent collects dirt. No one seems to know exactly why – including Millicent herself…
6) The Winner’s Ribbon. Tim and Michelle are both looking forward to participating in the Independence day parade. But just before they leave, Mother gets news that she will have to perform a surgery this afternoon. That means that someone will have to stay at home with Grandfather. But which will it be?
7) Good as a Boy. Holly is determined that she is as good as any boy. And she intends to prove it, too, by finding a job. But will anyone hire a girl? And will they pay her the same price?
8) Pencil-and-Paper Caper. Josh and Rebecca are super-excited with their new pair of walkie-talkies. Now they can pretend to be police officers! But suddenly one of the walkie-talkies cuts out. There’s nothing wrong with the batteries, but when they try to return the defective item, they are refused. Can Rebecca and Josh think of a way to solve their problem?
9) Darlene’s Dance Dilemna. Darlene has always wanted to take ballet classes. But now that she’s actually taking them, she’s disappointed. It’s a lot more work and a lot less fun than she thought it would be. Can Darlene find a way make ballet fun?
10) Roberto Gets Through August. Roberto can’t stand August. There’s nothing fun in it, nothing to look forward to. But when he sits in on one of Miss Jules’s story times at the library, he changes his mind. August might be exciting – if Miss Jones lets him read the stories. But will she?
11) What If? Mary is always asking what if questions. What if the trees lost all their leaves and new ones never grew again? What if everyone turned blue? Things like that. And usually people tell her to stop asking so many questions. But one day, when Grandma doesn’t answer the doorbell, Mary asks an unusual question – What if Grandma’s hurt and can’t come to the door?
12) The Snowman on Sled Hill. There’s a snowman contest that’s being held on Snow Hill, and Ted and Pete are determined to win it! But when a wandering sled knocks down their almost finished snowman, their chances seem to plummet.
13) Flipparoos and Walmonks. When the protagonist’s lack of skill causes him to mispaint several of the animals in his landscape, he and his friend, Professor Goodbody decide to have a little fun creating animals of their own…
14) Who’s Afraid of Mr. Sweeney? Luke loves helping out his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Feldon, with her projects around the house, but he is scared of his gruff neighbor, Mr. Sweeney. After Luke accidentally breaks Mr. Sweeney’s window and apologizes for it, he begins to learn that Mr. Sweeney isn’t so grouchy after all.
15) Too Many Jennifers. There are just so many Jennifers in the world – three in Jennifer’s class. And it’s so confusing to never know if it’s you somebody wants or one of the other Jennifers. So, Jennifer decides to do something about it. She decides to invent a nickname – a name that others can call her by. But what name should she choose?
In No Borrowing Brenda, Brenda conscientiously follows her mother’s commands and earns her mother’s approval.
In Satisfaction Guaranteed, Dave shows a remarkable amount of spirit, determination, and responsibility, as he searches for a job.
In The Winner’s Ribbon, Tim sacrificially chooses to stay behind, allowing his sister to attend the parade and win a competition. When his mother returns, she tells him,
“Sometimes there is no ribbon for being a winner. You did something very generous in offering to stay at home, Tim. I was able to prevent a young man from losing his leg. He is a fortunate person today and a very happy one, too.” She gave my left shoulder a loving squeeze. [pg 42]
In The Snowman on Sled Hill, Pete and Ted invite Ted’s sister to help them build the snowman, instead of excluding her.
In Who’s Afraid of Mrs. Sweeney, Luke shows respect and consideration to his neighbor, Mrs. Feldon, who is ill. They have a very sweet relationship. Luke also develops a relationship with Mr. Sweeney.
In The Secret of the Evening News, Karen gets her idea about how to write to her grandparents from watching television.
In Good as a Boy, Holly is determined to prove her equality to boys. “It’s just because I’m a girl” is her constant complaint.
In Roberto Gets Through August, Roberto much prefers to be in school than to be forced to occupy his own time.
In What If?, Mary asks “What if a spaceship full of Martians landed in our yard?”
In Flipparoos and Walmonks, the protagonist creates a whole hat full of whimsical creatures.
Conclusion. The characters in No Borrowing, Brenda! are not perfect, but they exhibit many notable character qualities. A good, fluffy read.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret