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The Book of Bright Ideas
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The Book of Bright Ideas

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  4,984 ratings  ·  597 reviews
Wisconsin, 1961. Evelyn “Button” Peters is nine the summer Winnalee and her fiery-spirited older sister, Freeda, blow into her small town–and from the moment she sees them, Button knows this will be a summer unlike any other.

Much to her mother’s dismay, Button is fascinated by the Malone sisters, especially Winnalee, a feisty scrap of a thing who carries around a shiny sil
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Delta (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

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I really liked this book. It's profound but in a gentle way with fun and interesting and real relationships. It maintains an optimistic tone even though it deals with some sad topics. The story was a page-turner, but the people are what I remember; in my mind, they're a mess of broken crayons on top of a stark and tidy pencil drawing at the beginning of the book. By the end, the crayons are patched together in a Crayola box, and the drawing has bent edges and tinges of color in all the right pla ...more
Jul 12, 2007 Lesley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who treasure their best friend's differences
Shelves: lovesit
So cute! Reminder to treasure your own or your best friend's wild streak. Made me think of all the people who came in and out of my life for one reason or another. Great summer read! Liberation of souls from girls to grown woman. One summer in the early 60's, Evelyn's life got turned upside down by her new firecracker of a friend. Winnalee the firecracker, carries her "dead Ma" around in an creepy as that is, it never bothered me. She was such a lovable character! The "bright ideas" wer ...more
Bright AND Beautiful

I realize it's an overused phrase, "I couldn't put it down," however, if any book deserves to be described in this manner, it's this charming and beautifully-written story called The Book of Bright Ideas. I picked it up because of the cover art, a little blond girl with a tutu and a tiara, and I liked the idea of reading about friendship. And that's exactly what this story is about. It's about a friendship not only between the nine-year-old narrator, "Button," and a little gi
I really enjoyed this book! It has the quirky characters I love, & is told from a child's point of view. It is set in Wisconsin in the 1960s which is the time & place I grew up. The story really picks up midway through with a few twists at the end. My sister & daughter will be reading it next. If you liked "me & Emma" or "Whistling Past The Graveyard" you'll like this as well.
4.5 stars

So well-written, so enchanting. I loved this book and I'm really going to miss these characters.
I have really mixed feelings about this book. There are a lot of things I love about it and other things that really bothered me. I love the story told from the young girl's perspective... but I don't think the author quite hit the mark with that style and there were a lot of moments that it lost it's from-a-child's-perspective magic. I LOVED the interaction between the two young girls, and I loved the interaction between the girls and Aunt Verdella, who I thought was just a lovely character and ...more
I thought this book was alright, what bothered me was just how cliche it was. It was just these spunky, 'different' people that move into this town of boring people and spice things up. Antics ensue. You know the drift. I don't know, I wanted to be in love with it, but I just felt like I had read it all before. Even the too-cute name 'Button' got on my nerves a little.

The redeeming factor for me was that it was written from a 9 year old girl's perceptive & was kind of a journal of her growin
The short review: I loved this book. I loved how these characters crept into my head and will be there long after I've finished the last page. I think this story will resonate wtih anyone who has overcome some kind of trauma in their life, and I think it will help anyone still struggling to put that trauma in the past. Button says it best: "It seems to me that after someone sweeps across your life like a red-hot flame, peeling back the shutters that sat over your heart and your mind and setting ...more
one of the best i've read in a long, long time. amazing. written for adults from the perspective of a child. very clear, honest opinions about life and trying to understand relationships between family, lovers, best friends. it is a must read. you will not be disappointed, except perhaps when you realize that, like all good things, the book comes to and end...and off you'll go in search of the next great one.
I really liked this book. I've always enjoyed books that are written from a child's perspective - this one has a narrator who's voice is both realistic and innocent. It really brought me back to what its like to be a child; to feel so helpless, controlled by things you don't even understand. To be surrounded by adults who's complexities both intrigue you and scare you half to death.

Button is a scared, shy little girl who hardly speaks during the whole book, though she slowly begins to gain her c
Feb 24, 2012 Ginger rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone young or old!
This book was absoluetly amazing! My only regret is that I haven't read this before now. This is such a wonderfully written story about two 9 year old girls (Button & Winnalee) who become best friends. There were so many emotions I felt while reading this: anger, happiness, sadness....just about every emotion one can feel.

I felt sorry for Button because her parents treated her almost as if she were invisible. There were times when her mother (Jewel) was so mean, I wanted to knock the crap o
Wonderful! The lives that are changed when the Malone sisters roll into town and the relationships that develop are heartwarming. Winnalee is such a perfectly developed character and won me over instantly. I'd love a sequel!
Amy Brooks
I started and stopped reading this book a couple of times before I finally picked it up once and for all and read it. I thought this was a pretty decent read and one I would file as "beach read", you know, not heavy drama but something that will certainly engage and entertain. I think this book would make a fantastic movie--at least on Lifetime...

I gave this book to my cousin who suggested it to her book club. I think her book club reads serious books and they will all think I'm a superdumbblond
Jennifer Schafhauser
I really enjoyed this book--I love books that are told from the perspective of a child. Button's descriptions are so sweet and innocent, even in the craziness around her.
Helen Baldwin

The characters in this spellbinding story are so real that I felt as if I had a few new friends by the end of the book. I just loved it! It made me laugh out loud at times, and at other times, brought tears to my eyes. The story takes place during a summer and is about what it means to be a friend and have a friend, especially a new best friend. The friendships that form between Winnalee and Evelyn, and all the women in the story are inspiring. At different times, I related to each one of them,
3.5 stars.
The story takes place in a small town in northern Wisconsin-1961. The Malone sisters come into town and nothing is every the same. Nine year old Button tells the story. They are bigger than life characters. The older sister Freeda sleeps around and swears like a trouper, but is insightful with a big heart. She cares for her sister Winnalee (nine years old) who carries around their dead mother's ashes in an urn. They befriend and change another family with most of the story centering ar
I loved this book. About halfway through reading it, I realized how positive this book was and how it just felt good to read it. I was worried if I continued that some big horrible tragedy would happen that would ruin the book for me. But I went forward and while there was conflict as any story worth telling has, it fit the story without turning into a different tale completely. Beautiful and well written. I could actually read this one again! Thanks to my sister for lending this to me!
Alexa Iannone Stefan
What a beautifully written story. There are so many life lessons embedded in this text. Two families who have different lives and complicated relationships are transformed after spending a summer two sisters who just recently move into town. These two sisters are intriguing characters to say the least, but they manage to change lives forever. I was attached to this story and could not put this book down.
I really loved this book! The story of two little girls and their friendship was heartwarming and I loved how it was told from a nine year old's perspective. It was sweet to watch both she and her mother turn from "grey" people to those with color and self confidence. It had sad parts but not so much that I felt the need to cry. I'll be going back now and looking for this author's first book, Carry Me Home, next.
Lisa C. Ungerecht
I read this book many years ago and it has always stuck in my mind as one of my favorite books. The characters stuck in my mind and I did not want their story to end. Over the years i have given this book as gifts many times. I now see that the author has written a sequel. I am going to re-read this book first and then can't wait to see where the story takes these characters later in their life.
Sep 26, 2008 Toni rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pauline
Recommended to Toni by: my book club buddy
I loved this book. It was an easy read, and it had a very sweet story line. It's a great reminder of how important our friends are to us and how you definitely can't judge a book by it's cover. Those that we least expect to touch us can change our lives forever. I hope that Sandra King tells us about the girls again some day.
I read this book along time ago in the summer & it was the best i'd ever read that year. Although cliche, i couldn't put it down! & being the small kid I was, after I was done I made my own book of "bright ideas" & I forced every friend who came to my house to put something in it.
Rachel Barr
Set in the summer of 1961, 9 year old "button" lives with her mom and dad. Her Aunt Verdella and Uncle live near by. Button stays with them while her mom works.

Frieda drives into the small town with her sister Winnable. They move into a house across for button's Aunts. This was Grandmas house..

Soon the two girls are best friends. As different then night and day. Button so careful and Winslet so carefree. Then start planning the idea to go hunt for fairies. Throughout the summer they gather thing
Shareen Wornson
Even though this is not the first book Sandra Kring wrote, this is the first book of hers I ever read. And, I loved it!!!! Sandra Kring is such a wonderful writer! Her stories are emotional and deep and fun and light and poignant and touching and important. You will not be disappointed in ANY of her work! I am about to re-read this book again, as I am on a Sandra Kring marathon right now. Please check out her work! This story is about an amazing little girl, living in a small town in Wisconsin, ...more
Lynn Meinders
I love this book. Winnalee and Button are charming, believable, and so funny and interesting. The author creates dialogue that sounds so real that a reader can become completely immersed. The adult characters in the story are honorable people who have problems but their struggles are met with support and understanding. Before long, they feel like friends--and that is the mark of an excellent book, for me.

I do not like reading books that are part of a series (most of the time---Harry Potter is a
Laura Madrian
I wish the author hadn't used so much bad language because I really liked the story. I am hesitant to read the sequel.
Mar 19, 2008 Jayne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys stories about friendship and/or stories told in child's POV
A touching story of family and friendship told in the voice of a child.
I'm having a hard time figuring out what to say. This book is quite a mixture of happy and sad events as well as some really bad. It does reflect what happens in every day life. It was also an interesting snapshot of how life was changing for women in the early 1960s as they became more independent and less reliant on what society thought they should be. But above all else, this is a book about two young girls and their friendship. I'm glad I read this, but be warned, it has a lot of cussing in ...more
Loved this book! Thanks Melissa for the recommendation!
Cute story......horrible language at times.
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“For all those who longed to find a best friend and found it in themselves” 65 likes
“It seems to me that after someone sweeps across your life like a red-hot flame, peeling back the shutters that sat over your heart and your mind and setting free your sweetest dreams or your worst nightmares, after things cool down you've got two choices. You can either slip back into your old self, your old life, tucking those things you were too scared to look at back into hiding, or you can keep those parts of yourself out until you get so used to them that they don't scare you anymore and they just become a part of who you are.” 29 likes
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