KidLit: Ann’s Amazing Adventure by Jeanetta Brancaccio
On the back cover of Ann’s Amazing Adventure there’s a message that has been taught for thousands of years, yet bears repeating: “Love everyone always.” Written by Jeanetta Brancaccio, illustrated by Sara Petrous, and edited by Mary Anne Christiano, Ann’s Amazing Adventure is the story of a doll who is separated from her little girl one day and reunited many years later.
The story is told from the doll’s perspective and is based on the true story of a doll Brancaccio’s daughter lost when she was young, which the author and her husband found 23 years later at an antique show. Although Brancaccio imagined the story of the doll’s adventures twenty years ago, it wasn’t until 2009 that she and her team prepared for publication.
In the book, Ann’s little girl, Nancy, and her family were moving across the country when Ann was accidentally bumped out of the car and left along the side of the road. A chauffeur stops his car nearby, to allow a dog out, while his employers wait in the car. Randy, the dog, finds Ann and brings her back to the car. A little girl inside, Julia, pleads for the toy, and her mother gives in, insisting that it be washed before she plays with it.
Ann misses Nancy, but she is happy living with the other toys in Julia’s room. As the years pass, Julia plays with them less, until the day comes when the housekeeper boxes them up. Years later they find themselves on display at a flea market.
Ann’s Amazing Adventure is a colorful storybook, recommended for ages eight through twelve. It focuses on hope, new beginnings, and making the most of what one has. While there are things in Ann’s world that she would change if she could, she is content to enjoy her life and look forward to the future. Her message is simple, “Whatever happens to you is really happening for you.” When combined with her philosophy, “When you love and are loved, nothing else matters,” it provides a lesson on rolling with the punches and appreciating the good things in one’s life. Add a happy reunion to that combination, and Ann’s Amazing Adventure is a delightful children’s book.