Recommended for readers 7-10
Annie Brown is an 11-year-old who always seems to come in second to her best friend, Savannah. Savannah seems unable to do any wrong: she wins the big awards at school, she’s the MVP of the school track team, and she’s a straight-A student. Savannah tries to be a supportive best friend, and when a local web show called The Cat’s Meow holds auditions, Savannah just knows that Annie has to try out! After all, no one comes up with wacky “As Seen on TV”-type products like she does! Annie’s own dad calls them her “wrinventions”, and they include things like Apology Armor (extra padding on those knees). But Annie freezes at the audition… and Savannah lands the role of announcer, which causes a rift in their friendship – even when Annie is brought on as a show writer. Can Annie outfit herself in some Apology Armor and patch things up with Savannah?
This is one of those middle grade novels that so many readers will understand! Who hasn’t felt jealous of a good friend, especially if they seem to have it all? Who hasn’t felt the disappointment of missing out on something like being cast for a school play, or making a sports team? Amy Dixon captures realistic scenarios and real feelings in the form of a spunky, funny protagonist who wants to be Lucy, but maybe is a little more Ethel. Annie B. Made for TV reminds me of Sarvenaz Tash’s Belle of the Ball, a great story from the anthology The Radical Element. It’s not always about being the one in the spotlight, but about knowing your strengths and how to work them. This one’s a fun, smart read for middle graders, and is filled with black and white line drawings of Annie’s best “wrinventions”.