Thursday, August 23, 2012

Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery (retold by Kathleen Olmstead)

Recommendation: ***** (5-stars)

Anne from Anne of Green Gables is now sixteen years old. Formerly a student at Avonlea School, she is now the teacher. This condensed version of the original Anne of Avonlea tells of Anne’s adventures with her students, young twins who come to live with her and Marilla, and the various efforts of the Avonlea Village Improvement Society. As she and her peers grow into young adulthood, their interests develop, and romance enters the picture. Anne encounters love as she helps a friend rekindle an old love, her best friend becomes engaged, and an admirer patiently waits for her.

Positives: This beloved classic is retold in a form that younger readers can enjoy without the original length. A wonderful story of life in simpler times, capturing the stage of Anne’s life where she is becoming a woman. There are very good questions at the conclusion of the book to help with discussion and making connections to the characters.

Negatives: none

Talking Points: The story opens with Anne’s encounter with Mr. Harrison, a good example of what can happen when we do the right thing, even if it is difficult. She makes a new friend in an unexpected way, and both parties are blessed. (Matt. 22:39) Marilla also demonstrates this kind of love when her friend’s husband dies. As she and Anne care for the twins, they selflessly welcome the children into their home. (James 1:27) When Anne and Diana meet Miss Lewis, they fully engage this lonely woman in a new friendship and the end result is a wonderful reunion leading to the rediscovery of an old love. This can be viewed in like manner for Christians to live each moment for the Lord, being open to opportunities that He brings. (Col. 3:17)

Age Level: 7 years and up

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