Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
I am excited to share a review today of a book I read out loud to my kids this fall. We all loved it! Mandy by Julie Andrews is simply delightful.
- I was initially drawn to this book when I found out that Julie Andrews wrote it. I love her and was so excited to read something she had written. I own her novel The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles which I am excited to read. We have also borrowed the first book in her The Very Fairy Princess series that she co-wrote with her daughter. All are simply lovely!
- We loved the beautiful drawings in each chapter that gave us an idea of how the cottage and gardens might look. I always love when chapter books have illustrations because my kids love seeing them. It’s fun to see how the author imagined the characters and settings.
According to Goodreads, “The magic of finding a home. Mandy, a ten-year-old orphan, dreams of a place to call her own. Escaping over the orphanage wall to explore the outside world, Mandy discovers a tiny deserted cottage in the woods. All through the spring, summer, and fall, Mandy works to make it truly hers. Sometimes she “borrows” things she needs from the orphanage. Sometimes, to guard her secret, she even lies. Then, one stormy night at the cottage, Mandy gets sick, and no one knows how to find her–except a special friend she didn’t know she had.“
I really enjoyed this sweet story from Julie Andrews. As I read this aloud to my kids, we were all captivated by Mandy’s story. It’s a simple premise. Mandy is an orphan who discovers an abandoned cottage in the woods and fixes it up as her own secret home. She longs for someplace to call her own. But she gets sick and needs help at the cottage. The story was easy for my kids to follow and we often read several chapters because we all wanted to know what happened next.
I loved the cottage and how carefully Mandy takes care of it. Her sweet attention to the garden and the house are very sweet. We wish we could see the shell room. And we loved the descriptions of the different flowers she plants and the animals she befriends. Mandy’s love and care for the house and garden are innocent and good. She truly just wants a place of her own and finds solace in having her own space. But we also talked about some of the choices Mandy makes that aren’t as good. Like when she lies and steals things for the cottage. That offered us some good discussions.
There are lots of good lessons in this book to discuss with young kids. We talked about what it means to be an orphan and to not have a mom and dad. We talked about telling the truth and not keeping secrets that could get us in trouble. We talked about stealing and why that is bad. We talked about resting and taking care of ourselves when we are sick. We talked about being a good friend and being kind to our friends. So many beautiful lessons to learn.
Overall, this was a delightful little book! It’s a perfect read aloud for young kids and has a lovely happy ending. We really enjoyed this one.
What are some of your favorite read alouds for young readers?
Have you read any books by people famous for other things that you enjoyed?