March 4, 2007

If you crossed an L.T. Meade book with Anne of Green Gables, you might get something a little like Judy, by Temple Bailey. But it probably wouldn’t be as cute.

Anne Batcheller lives in a little gray house with her grandmother and her two pets, a cat and a bird named Belinda and Becky. One day their friend Judge Jameson brings his orphaned (mother dead, father lost at sea — but we all know how that always turns out, right?) granddaughter Judy over for lunch, and she and Anne make friends. Okay, that’s not strictly accurate. Anne finds Judy interesting. Judy insists that she hates everything, but seems to want Anne around. Eventually they do get along, and with the help of handsome Launcelot Bart, a sixteen year old boy who raises violets, Anne helps Judy to become less of a sourpuss.

Also, there are violent storms, and gypsies, and tableaus of scenes from Tennyson. And someone gets locked in an icebox — I love it when that happens!

Looking back, I’m not sure exactly what makes this book so cute. I know that teenage girls reading Ruskin aren’t much of a cute factor for most people as they are for me. I guess it’s the characters, who are so young, and kind of earnest in a way that makes sense.

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