Everyone makes a wish on their birthday, but most of us don’t get to see that wish come true. For Ava Tree, her birthday suddenly gets a dash of excitement when she realizes that her wishes DO come true. Three wishes a day, in fact. But will the wishes last? And are there some things that are just too big to wish for?
Ava Tree was an engaging and likable character in a warm and friendly early chapter book. She is sweet, and her relationship with her friend Priscilla and much older brother Jack are charming. She seems like a real child, with likes and dislikes that are not simply plot-driven.
The one sour note is Priscilla’s mother, Mother Puhrfect. The name, and the personality to go with it, is just too over-the-top in a book that, aside from the fantastical wishing element, treats its characters with seriousness and respect. The “bad wishes will rebound back on you” was also slightly trite, but it is such a standard part of the wishing/magical powers genre that I was not surprised to see its inclusion, and the book refreshingly avoids the cliched scene of wishing for lots of material things only to learn the special lesson that material possessions aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Some of Ava’s wishes are selfish – as is only realistic – but not in the “mine, mine, mine” consumerism that it could be so easy to be lazy and use.
Ava’s grief for her parents – killed an unnamed number of years ago – seems very real both in its intensity and also in the ways in which she and Jack have accommodated and adapted to life on their own. She clearly misses her parents, and her multiple attempts to wish them back to life show that she would do almost anything to have them back. But while she is clearly sad, she has also reached the point in her life where she can move forward, able to have a birthday party or go diving and not be overwhelmed by the fact that her parents are not there to share these experiences with her.
Although I can find nothing online to indicate that there will be a sequel, I hope that there will be more books forthcoming about Ava Tree and her remarkable ability to wish for what she wants.