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Dustbin Baby (2002)

Dustbin Baby (2002)

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3.52 of 5 Votes: 5
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0552547964 (ISBN13: 9780552547963)
corgi childrens

About book Dustbin Baby (2002)

....I had a week before me, during which I was planning and packing for a very big trip, two thick books lined up in the queue (which would be the wooden box between my front door and the couch), and Dustbin Baby already read. I was not that impressed, and took a stroll through the giant spreadsheet of my Best Books to Read, where I found a total of twelve more Jacqueline Wilson books. I was not pumped. But I was surprised.Who is this Jacqueline Wilson character that she makes the top 1200 (or so) books thirteen times and yet ceases to impress me? I’ll tell you. She’s a British lady. She has written over sixty-one YA books. She is now some sort of tour de force, complete with a whole online wonderland of games and information, as well as more than a few books-to-movies. She became popular after something like thirty books, when she wrote The Story of Tracy Beaker. Her popularity is thanks almost entirely to the people of England. And here is her schtick: since the 70s, she has been writing short, accessible, encouraging yet realistic books about kids and teens in really tough situations. I ended up gobbling down six more Wilson’s books (that’s all my American library had) before laying out my judgement, and the topics that sampling covered (some of her most lauded, included) were being a foster care child, having a parent with a mental disorder, dealing with the death of a friend, going through parental divorce, being a twin, and being abandoned by your parents.I can’t help but keep thinking about the comment I received about my book from Zack Smith at the local paper: “I’m just going to say it: More coming-of-age novels need stuff like this. Estranged parents and soured relationships can only take you so far.” And yet, I think that Wilson’s books, with their accessibility and their very real and positive outlook, are also important to children. And I don’t know who benefits more: kids who can relate to this stuff, or kids who can learn compassion and understanding. (On the other hand, I think romps into light, airy, and imaginary worlds is also good food for the developing mind.)These are the books I read (some of them in an afternoon), in this order: Dustbin Baby, 2001 The Illustrated Mum, 1999 Double Act, 1995 The Story of Tracy Beaker, 1991 The Suitcase Kid, 1992 Vicky Angel, 2001 Girls in Tears, 2002In the end, these books are not really my cup o’ tea, although there was some fun in breezing through them and analyzing them together. And really, I can see the merits of them. Really. Writing-wise, they were unspectacular. Wilson sticks to such straight-forward vocabulary that it can grow flat. At no time was I transported to a grassy hillside. While her characters are rounded out nicely, her plots (I think because of the featureless writing style) leave you wishing for more. With all these terrible, real-life situations and triumphant endings, I ended the last page of the last book wondering why my heart had not soared nor one lonely tear come to my eye. However, the ideas behind the books are solid, and the insight, empathy, and tact with which she writes about them are spot-on. She understands kids–and these kinds of kids (/preteens/teens)–unlike any other author (or even person) I have ever read (met).Six random observations:One, I absolutely love the way so many of her main characters see themselves in such negative terms (including, of course, their appearance, but also often their behavior) or even just unrealistic terms, but Wilson never takes the easy way out explaining and patronizing about how they really are beautiful or slender or kind or whatever. The character always slowly, and in a very understated way, discovers something redeemable about themselves, for themselves, and with the tender help of one compassionate person. We need not cue the sappy music.Two, these books are for girls. Out of the seven I read, not one of them would be of too much interest to a boy. They were all about girls and written to girls. That’s all.Three, part of how Wilson does her Wilson-thing is using illustrations (by Nick Sharrat) and other story-telling devices. Yeah, lots of YA books these days use them, too. Like Captain Underpants and Origami Yoda. Wilson uses different techniques in each book, like telling the story through a journal, or starting each chapter with a letter of the alphabet, or hanging the storyline in the structure of a walk through town. Got it?Four, I also love that she is honest about how kids perspectives are often skewed, especially in that they are often attached where it is unsafe and repelled where it would be good. So many times, her heroine clung to an unhealthy relationship because it was familiar, justifying behaviors and running an internal dialogue of excuses, or separated themselves unwisely from people that could have offered them much better than they were already getting. We adults could take a hint, too.Five, occasionally Wilson’s books bring up the occult or witchcraft, and not necessarily in a fantasy way. I believe she regards it as a type of play-acting, but the line is a thin one. Several of her characters imagine themselves using magic to change things around them or even hurt others. One of the characters imagines a friend who is an “ace” at the occult (turning into a vampire, etc.). Also, Christian belief is seen more in negative terms. The kid characters tend to view religion as worthless and even mock it, while the only positive religious character I read in Wilson’s books was sort of flaky about her religious affiliation to the point that you eventually forgot she was a Christian. (I only just now remembered her because the description of her stiff collar clashing with her lively pants was a stand-out.)Six, there are movies. I have not seen any of them yet, and have no idea about their availability stateside, but I plan to look into it.Dustbin Baby was the one which I was referring to when I said I was not that impressed. It remains my least favorite out of the lot. I think the idea was a good one–Wilson is exactly the person who could and should write about the kid who gets left in a dumpster–but the end result was a tad mundane. Also, somehow with the real-time plot and flashback to memories thing, the timing got off.....REVIEW FROM THE STARVING ARTIST

Jacqueline Wilson has written many amazing books, but Dustbin Baby has to be one of my favourites, especially for an older reader, and is a story I will never forget.April, the main character, is a lonely girl with a vivid imagination who struggles to fit in as she is haunted by her past. Without so much as a note or shawl, April was abandoned by her mother at birth and dumped in a nearby dustbin. Luckily, her constant cries (which later gained her one of her nicknames April Showers) was heard by the local pizza boy, Frankie, who saved her life.The reader is introduced to April on her 14th birthday, which happens to be on April 1st (hence she adopted the nickname April Fools). For her birthday she receives a pair of earrings from her old-fashioned foster mother Marion - not quite the present April had wished for. Still without a mobile phone, unlike her friends, April and Marion have a dispute and April storms out and sets off on a journey to meet her previous foster parents in order to discover more about her childhood.April didn’t always have a great upbringing, being moved from home to home and relationships never seemed to last. She witnessed the marital breakdown of the people she trusted the most, which ended in her ‘mummy’ committing suicide as her ‘daddy’ had run off with another woman. She was frequently bullied by another foster child until she eventually retaliated, landing the girl in hospital, and was later coerced into burglary.Along April’s journey she finds many people from her past and even makes new friends; nevertheless she still feels very lonesome and empty - something is missing. One question remains throughout, will she ever find her birth mother?In the final chapters of the book April finds the number of who she suspects to be her birth mother, however, later finds out that the number belongs to an excited Frankie who has been looking for her from the day she was taken away. This may not be the happy ending the reader wanted for April but is a happy ending nonetheless as April comes to the realisation of how grateful she is to have a wonderful foster mother, good friends and a new found relationship with Frankie.This book is ideal for independent reading for older readers from the age of 10, as Jacqueline Wilson discusses many relatable issues such as crushes, fitting in, bullying and parental disputes. The author captivates the reader with April’s story and leaves them always wanting to know more. Readers are able to sympathise with the character and hope that in the end she will achieve what she set out to find and also get the answers to her questions.As well as being an interesting read, there is also a moral to the story which (in this case) was ‘life may not always be perfect but be grateful for what you have and make the most of it,’ which may be an inspiration to many young readers.

Do You like book Dustbin Baby (2002)?

Is there any girl who hasn't read a Jacqueline Wilson book when they were a younger teen? I read many, although I've never found many to be particularly believable or memorable. I adored Love Lessons and can still remember most of the plot but Dustbin Baby isn't a interesting one for me, despite having read it about 4 times. I remember it, of course.This one is about a girl called April, she's just turned 14 and decided to bunk from school, after having a temper tantrum because her foster mother bought her earrings instead of a mobile phone. Deciding to revisit her past, she starts at her first foster home and works from there. Throughout this journey April tells the story of her life, of her old foster mothers suicide and how she was severely bullied in another foster home.What the story could have really done with was a better ending. The ending felt quite rushed and I was left wanting to know what happened afterwards. In the movie (with Dakota Blue Richards as April!) we get a glimpse of what happened next, how April current foster mother, Marion, reacted to her disappearance and them working things out. In the book however it just seems to cut off when you want to read more.I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that Tanya, from Bad Girls makes a cameo appearance in this book and she also mentions Mandy, the main character in the book. I love books that have links to other books in them, although I admit that I would have loved to have seen Tracy Beaker in this!It's not the most thought provoking of JW's books but then again, the ones I'm thinking of (Love Lessons, Kiss) would probably appeal to older readers. For the younger YA set, I think it's a perfectly enjoyable quick read for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
—Vickie Wilson

April Showers is such a departure from the other books I have read by Jacqueline Wilson. It deals with much darker issues but it retains her amazing ability to keep the story alive and quick as we don’t know where we will go next. April Showers focuses on April a.k.a the ‘dustbin baby’. We meet April on April fool’s day which also happens to be her fourteenth birthday. After she is given a pair of earrings rather than a mobile phone (much to her disgust!) we travel back through her past.Discovered in a dustbin, April has never had a family although she has thought about her mother many times and is desperate to know why and what happened. As we travel though her past we see the hardships that she has faced and the events that have shaped her to be the person we meet at the beginning of the book. The girl who is desperate to be normal and she plays this role so well sometimes she questions if any of the real April is left.My only criticism of the book is that it finishes very quickly. I felt that it needed another chapter or two to expand on how April felt and how her life changed. This book is a definite stepping stone for younger fans of Wilson into her literature intended for an older audience.
—Claire Conlon

We meet April on her 14th birthday which is April Fools day. She was found in the bins behind a pizza place with no clothes, no nappy and no note. Just abandoned.This book would be good for 12 years old onwards however at times April does seem quite childish for her age even with what she has been through.The first half of the book is mainly reminiscing back to the days before she was about 5. How she was found abandoned and by who, how she was adopted but things didn't end up going very well. It was her own mini autobiography where another girl doesn't realise whats she has until she goes through the day and finds that she isn't going to get all her answers and that perhaps she is a little selfish.Loved the ending with Frankie though, thought that was very sweet. We also see Elaine the social worker from Tracy Beaker and Tanya from Bad Girls.Still as an adult, not a book I will be reading again, but I can see why the younger teenagers would like it.
—Emily (Mrs B's Books)

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