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That Scatterbrain Booky

(Booky #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  508 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Booky didn't know much about the reasons for the Great Depression. All she knew was that she was hungry all the time, that her parents fought constantly, that the bailiff would soon return to evict her family from their home. Worst of all, she knew that Christmas would be a time of empty stockings instead of presents under the tree, a time of mashed potatoes and turnips in ...more
Paperback, 181 pages
Published 1985 by Scholastic (first published June 1981)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series
2nd re-read of 2019
I first read this series when I was in the 6th grade and borrowed them many times from the school library. As soon as they appeared in Scholastic, my mom just had to buy them and I can easily say that they still mean something to me today as an adult. These books give a clear picture of just how hard life was like for a Canadian family during the Great Depression.

Our story is set in the city of Toronto, Ontario in 1932/1933. Bernice Thurman Hunter shows us the men looking fo
Nov 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves realistic historical fiction for children
Originally published by Scholastic, Canada in 1981, Bernice Thurman Hunter's sweet and evocative That Scatterbrain Booky is actually the first installment of a trilogy featuring young Beatrice Thomson and her immediate and extended family's life and struggles during the hard days of Depression era Toronto (the other books of the trilogy are With Love From Booky, As Ever, Booky, and the entire trilogy has also recently been rereleased as Booky: A Trilogy). From the information about Bernice Thurm ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
I read this book in this omnibus edition: Booky: A Trilogy.

Thanks to Goodreads’ friends Gundula, I have a copy of this of my very own, which I am happy to lend out. Another Goodreads friend offered to let me borrow her copies of the three books. What a wonderful site this is! What’s infuriating and disappointing though is how many books from faraway, and not all that far away, places are sometimes not available. Yes, this book is old, but it’s reprinted, and yet it’s not available at my public l
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book about ten-year-old Beatrice and her family during the Great Depression in Toronto, Canada in 1932-33. It's "one of those books" about which I struggle to write an adequate review because I loved it so much, in so many ineffable ways. But, I wanted to get down a few (inadequate) words before I get too busy. I wish there were more reviews of this wonderful book here but I gather that it was never published in the US so the scarcity of reviews might be down to the fact this book i ...more
May 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful book that I loved ever since I was a 10 year old kid. It's about another 10 year old girl growing up in Toronto during the 1930's (the depression years). The family has a lot of struggles but they always make it through somehow. The author makes everything so real that you must think it has to be based on some kind of true story. It is, an always be, a favourite of mine. ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Middle-Grade Readers Who Enjoy Historical Fiction
Originally published in 1981, this slender little paperback packs quite a punch! The first of a trilogy of books depicting a young girl's experiences growing up in Depression-era Toronto - it is followed by With Love From Booky and As Ever, Booky - it is by turns humorous and heartbreaking, never shying away from depicting the disturbing realities of life during that tumultuous time, but also giving full expression to the joys and pleasures of childhood, and of family life. Chronicling t ...more
Cynthia Hill
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book (and the sequels) so many times since I was a kid, I've lost count. I understand it better every time, and it's all the more relevant today. Booky (Beatrice) Thompson is a 10 year old "scatterbrain" in 1932 Toronto. Her father is out of work, like so many other families she knows, and the family is constantly being evicted from their homes because of it (again, not uncommon.) Booky is incredibly endearing, and you really root for the family to make it through the Great Depr ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grades, owned
I enjoyed this book for its honest depiction of the trials of family life during the depression. In its depiction of everyday life during historical times, it reminds me of Anne of Green Gables. The book is similarly episodic and filled with little vignettes of experiences.

And I enjoyed the main character, Beatrice. One minor gripe, though, is that I don't quite understand how she got the appellation "Scatterbrain". She seems to have had dyscalculia long before that was even beginning to have a
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My teacher read this book to us when I was in the 4th or 5th grade. I fell in love with it then, and still love it! I've read all the books in the Booky series, but obviously, the first one is the best. I always crawl into bed with this book and Anne of Green Gables when I'm sick. A must read. ...more
Kimberly  O'Meara
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Another story about a girl growing up poor in toronto during the depression. Read this and then read it to your pre teens daughters-they'll eat it up and get them off the Wii for a few minutes. ...more
Mar 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Fun, quick read. A must for anyone who lives or grew up in Toronto.
Meghan Moloney
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
This series basically formed my entire understanding of what it was like to live through the Great Depression in Toronto.
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Depression era Toronto memoir. I loved it as a child and really enjoyed sharing it with my kids, especially as some of it takes place near where their grandparents are. All three are a good read, some mature themes (puberty).
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An amazing firsthand account of the author's childhood living in Toronto during the depression. It may be catalogued as "young adult fiction" but I have read this at least once a year since the first time I picked it up at the age of 9 and the stories only seem to resonate more as I age (and certainly since I moved to Toronto at age 22). This book truly makes me smile, cry and cringe at the various misadventures of Booky and her family.
Do not watch the terrible tv movies that have recently been
B.j. Thompson
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
My husband showed me this book when we were cleaning up our bookshelves, and he told me he remembered reading it as a child. So I zipped through it because it isn't very often he recommends a book to me. Booky is a truly lovable child who is struggling to survive through The Great Depression with her family. Eviction notes, terrible choices, parental issues all play a part in this novel that tugged at my heartstrings. Great choice by my husband. I recommend this for young readers. ...more
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved it because it takes place in Toronto and I know most of the streets and places mentioned. It was really neat to read about what Toronto was like during the Depression. It was like a history lesson, but way more interesting.
Lindsay Nichols
Funny, I remember liking Booky more when I was little...just reading again recently it didn't move me the way I thought it would. Perhaps I wasn't in the right mood, or place, or I read too quickly...

I can't figure out if a lot of things happened, or nothing happened at all....
This book was really good and I learned about the great depression, although at times I got a bit confused. I think this book was very cute because the book was at Booky's perspective and she said many cute things. ...more
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hedder-s-favs
These were some of my favourite books when I was 8 or 10. I must have read the series about 20 times. Thanks Booky!
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
read this as a kid- but i read the whole series like 8 times! About a girl growing up during the depression in Toronto (the author actually). i loved the local references.
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dont-own
It was really cute, for a kid's book! I'd recommend it for kids. :) ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn reminded me of this series. A wonderful portrayal of a child's life during depression era Toronto. Booky will steal your heart. ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Neat that its set in Toronto.
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My all time favorite book. Booky is one of my greatest inspirations in life.
Tom Ryan
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a childhood fave that I must have read a dozen times in elementary school. Since I'm living in Toronto for a year, I was keen to get my hands on a copy and re-read now that I know the city more intimately, and so I was excited to find a copy at a secondhand book sale last week. This depression era story - basically a novelized memoir based on the author's childhood memories - was a quick read, and just as lively and engaging as I remembered. There were some darker moments that caught me ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting little book based on the Great Depression Years from the point of view of a ten-year-old girl. Apparently, author Bernice Thurman Hunter based her stories on her own family and childhood memories and Booky may just be based on her.
This book is a very straight-forward and easy read with short chapters, covering a certain memory / experience each. I found it very educational, and a refreshing and different view on a very tough time.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a story of a girl growing up in Toronto! I read this a kid, but love it as an adult too because of all the Toronto references and history. I recommend this to anyone wanting to read about Toronto in the past. Booky references sears, the TTC, the CNE...just really liked reading about things I know and how they were years ago!
Madame Jane
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
Tales of a girl growing up in Depression era Toronto. I loved the family, and the familiarity of the Toronto neighbourhoods, and annual festivities. A book that should make me grateful that I never had to go without, unlike most children those days.
Sharon Stine
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Although written for the 'youth' market this gives a feel of the depression from the point of view of a young Canadian girl in a family of 5 children. A gentle interesting read ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book as a young girl (sometime between 10-12) and loved it!! I reread it over and over. I recently reread it at 30 years old and it is still a delightful story about a girl from a poor family growing up during the 1930s in Toronto, Canada. I think it is a story that all ages can appreciate.
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She was born in Toronto, Ontario, on November 3, 1922 and died May 29, 2002. She married her high school sweetheart, Lloyd Hunter, and had two children, Anita and Heather, and four grandchildren, Meredith, Lisa, Hunter and Franceline. No Greats.

Bernice was the middle child of 5 children (Wilma, Gordon, Bernice, Jack and Robert). She struggled in school because they moved so often. The Booky Tril

Other books in the series

Booky (3 books)
  • With Love from Booky (Booky, #2)
  • As Ever, Booky (Booky, #3)

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