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Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

 Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz Logsted


My mother-in-law has always been quite chuffed about her birthday: having been born on the 8th of the 8th, shes quite the lucky woman. In Chinese culture, you see, eight is a lucky number. But my mother-in-laws eights pale in comparison with those of the eight daughters of the Huit (yes, the Eight) family of this quirky little series.

Not only were our eight heroines were born on the eighth of the eighth starting at eight, but they are eight minutes apart in age, eight inches apart in height, have eight cats between them, and live at house number Eight Eight Eight. But the sheer abundance of lucky eights in this household isnt enough to stop things from going awry. The eights (as theyre known throughout the book) are settling in to enjoy a slightly belated Christmas (courtesy of snowstorms in Utah) when their parents suddenly up and vanish.

The eights are mildly concerned to begin with (although their concern about their parents absence is a good deal less apparent than their concern about the eggnog that theyll never get to drink and the firewood that wont get chopped), but after discovering a note explaining that theyll learn what happened to their parents all in good time, they turn their attention instead to getting by without adult supervision. What results is a good deal of silliness: dressing up as their father (which involves affecting a British accent and sticking on a moustache), driving the family Hummer about (thank goodness for the booster-seat properties of the Oxford English Dictionary), and guzzling pink cake icing from the can (apparently icing is available in a can. How utterly revolting. But I suppose thats Americans for you.).

The tone is a curious one: its very self-consciously British in style, but regularly makes fun of the disconnect between the old-fashioned narrative style and the modern USA setting of the book. Britishisms are mixed with references to Utah, and Hummers are juxtaposed against references to home-made fruit cake. The girls mother might be a highly capable scientist with all sorts of inventions to her name, but apparently exists in a 1950s mindset where she wouldnt dream of letting the girls go to a party in anything other than a frock. If [Mommy]'were here, she would tell us even scientists should look like ladies. Unless theyre men, of course, says Annie at one point, rather perplexingly, I have to say. More perplexing is the fact that the family owns a black and gold robot designed to make our life easier, and given the generally parochial tone of this book, my eyebrows did shoot up here. Not to mention that the girls powers, which are to be discovered sequentially as the series progresses, seem to include things such as being organised (in this volume this essentially equates to acting as a mother figure) and perhaps the ability to cook.

These themes aside, its the narrative that I had the most difficulty with. The eights, you see, are sort of each an eighth of a wholeindeed, the narrator speaks in the first person plural, and the sisters are known to virtually everyone else as the eights. And though each book in the series appears to be set up so that each girl has her moment in the sun, to be honest, its incredibly difficult to tell them apart (particularly when you add eight cats into the mix). Its in fact this key conceit that prevents the book from quite working: the eights really only work when theyre a homogenous group rather than individuals, which sort of defeats the purpose of things. And with so many characters to move about, a good deal of the book is spent on logistics rather than on actual plot. The entirety of this book could easily have been condensed into a single chapter or even a prologue.

That said, theres certainly a good deal of charm here, and the pages drip with humour and silly names. The gorgeous black-and-white illustrations do add to the appeal of the book, and rendered well in my electronic format, as well. On the other hand, I was disappointed by the number of computer translation errors in my copy. Paying good money for an ebook and receiving a subpar product is an ongoing frustration for me, and its disappointing that these sorts of production issues continue to persist.

Though I love the concept of this series and enjoyed the quaint tone and humour of the book, my enthusiasm was tempered by the slight plot, the hard-to-differentiate characters and the typesetting issues.

Rating: star Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz Logstedstar Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz Logstedblankstar Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz Logstedblankstar Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz Logstedblankstar Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz Logsted (okay)

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 Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz Logsted Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz Logsted Book Review: Annies Adventures (Sisters Eight) by Lauren Baratz Logsted


  1. Well, gee thanks. First of all. :) Secondly, Im assuming the author meant the plastic tubs of icing, Ive never seen a can of frosting in the aluminium sense. Thirdly, I was really hoping this would be a fun series that you liked, merely because of the cover art. Alas, Im not sure I want to read a book about the collective mind of a bunch of girls who affect British accents and act like 1950s housewives while herding cats.

    • Stephanie /

      I dont know, dont you guys do cheese and whipped cream in a can? Im sure that icings the next step from there.

      I really wanted to like this one, tooIve had my eye on the series for ages now, in part because I love the concept and the beautiful designbut alas. Im all for the British accents (they bump up any childrens book a notch ;) ), but the party frocks business, limited plot and extraordinary number of characters kind of floored me here.

      (PS, I know I owe you an email, too!)