Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Star of Kazan

The Star of Kazan

Fall 2004 Fiction
Ages: 10 - 16 yrs.
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
ISBN: 0-525-47347-5
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Annika is a happy eleven-year-old foundling living with the cook and housekeeper who found her in a house in Vienna belonging to three eccentric, kindly professors. Bright, cheerful and ardworking, Annika nevertheless puts herself to sleep at night by imagining that her real mother will arrive someday and sweep her away to a wonderful life complete with dog. In the meantime, her rich nemesis across the square persuades her to take her place caring for her ancient, bedridden great-aunt stuck away in an attic. This elderly invalid, who becomes Annika's great friend, tells about her life in the theater and how she was given beautiful jewelry by admirers - including "The Star of Kazan."

When her beautiful mother does arrive, almost as she envisioned, Annika is so smitten that she refuses to accept the realities of her increasingly difficult life. Fortunately, because of her goodness, she always has true friends. With Annika suffering terribly and the plot twisting ferociously, this book will be beloved by its readers. It is a compelling read in which young readers will detect more than the naive main character, which ups the tension. This is an almost perfect children's book.

Kemie Nix   ©2004 Parents' Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children's Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents' Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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