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O Canada!

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery.

The Puffin In Bloom Collection edition of Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery.

I never read Anne of Green Gables as a kid, though I was vaguely aware of the movie which aired on PBS in the mid eighties.

I had no idea what I was missing.

My daughter, attracted like a moth to a flame by the cursive gold letters and the lavender-with-pink-flowers cover, clutched this book to her chest while we were shopping for holiday gifts and literally wouldn’t put it down. So we bought it, and started to read it together the next evening.

Written in a breathless and exuberant manner that perfectly reflects the main character, author L.W. Montgomery draws us into the lovely and enchanted world that was Prince Edward Island at the beginning of the twentieth century. The story centers around an eleven year old girl who is reluctantly adopted by an elderly couple who had been hoping for a boy to help them on the farm. Her extraordinary lust for life and vivid imagination combine to create a series of adventures that do cause some trouble but mostly endear her to everyone she meets… including the reader.

But I’m sure you know all of that already, because everyone on earth has read this book (or seen the movie). I seem to be one of the rare few who missed out.

The short chapters make for perfect pre-bedtime reading (my kid is 8 which is a perfect age for this story) and the characters are as compelling as anything one might hope for. Anne’s interactions with her schoolmates are a great way to begin to open up discussions about the complexities of friendships during those crucial developmental years (and believe me, we parents can use all the help we can get) Plus I am always all for a book that celebrates imagination and creativity and the outdoors (with nary an iPad in sight!)

But most importantly, Anne of Green Gables is another one of those classic books that is secretly about girl power in all of it’s wondrous forms, whilst being cleverly disguised as a friendly Canadian from the early 1900′s. Anne is strong, adventurous and first in her class, while also being into the latest fashions and dreaming about forests full of fairies.

The story comes in all shapes and sizes, but this Puffin In Bloom Collection version, with beautiful illustrations by Anna Bond, take the experience to a whole new heirloom quality level.

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