The Becket List: A Blackberry Farm Story

The Becket List: A Blackberry Farm Story
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
April 02, 2020
Buy This Book
Everything is changing for Becket Branch.

From subways to sidewalks to safety rules, she is a city kid born and raised. Now the Branch family is trading urban bustle for big green fields and moving to help their gran on Blackberry Farm, where Becket has to make sense of new routines, from feeding animals to baling hay.

But Becket is ready! She even makes her own “Becket List” for How to Be a Country Kid. Things don’t always work out the way she planned, but whether it’s selling mouth-puckering lemonade, feeding hostile hens, or trying to make a new best friend, Becket is determined to use her city smarts to get a grip on country living.

Get ready to yell “Beautiful Alert!” along with Becket as she mucks through the messy, exuberant experience of change she didn’t ask for, in a story that sparkles with quirky characters, cheerful humor, and unexpected adventures.

Editor review

1 review
Summer on the Farm
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
When Rebecca and her family move to the country so that her parents can have a veterinary practice there and also help out with the family store, she decides to start anew and change her name to "Becket". Her parents, as well as older sister Caroline and twin brother Nicholas reluctantly agree. There are a lot of things to get used to at the new house, and Becket is also taking over some of the farm chores from her grandmother, like collecting eggs and feeding the donkey and mule. She longs for a dog other than the elderly Mr. Fancypants, who is fonder of Nicholas, and tries to earn money in a couple of misguided ways. She and Nicholas go to a summer camp at the school, and she tries to make friends with Freida, although this is complicated by the fact that she also talks to Nicholas. By the end of summer, she is feeling more comfortable with her new environs and is looking forward to school.
Good Points
There are not a whole lot of books set on farms, and while the number of families living in rural environments has shrunk a bit, there is still a significant population whose life this sort of book reflects. Becket is ten, which is a great age to live on a farm, and seeing her do chores will fascinate children who do not have any background in that area.

This is perfect for young readers who are starting to get interested in chapter books. Becket is ten, and the facets of the book are perfect for readers that age and younger-- the way friendships are formed and maintained, her playing with toys, and the way she interacts with her sister, who is going in to 7th grade.

For sensitive souls, I feel I should mention that Becket's dog, Mr. Fancypants, is 14. You know how this ends.

Hand to readers who enjoyed Jones' Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, Enright's classic Thimble Summer, or series that feature elementary students and their dramas, like Ivy and Bean, Judy Moody, or Amber Brown.
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