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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Precious Gem
I have been reading a plethora of genres for 40+ years, and every once in a wonderful while I stumble across a masterpiece that fortifies my love of prose. "The Book of Bright Ideas" is a precious gem among the junk jewelry of average reads. Button, narrator, gifts a summer to remember as her new best friend, Winnalee, blows into town in a beat-up pick-up driven by her...
Published on June 12, 2007 by Gayla Collins

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alright, kind of "fluffy"
Not a bad book, but don't expect any real brain work here. The book is laid out on the table, the plot is somewhat predictable, and the characters are a bit contrived and superficial. This book is a great poolside book, when you don't want to think much and simply want entertainment.
Published on October 10, 2009 by S. Marsh


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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Precious Gem, June 12, 2007
By 
Gayla Collins (Sheridan, WYOMING USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have been reading a plethora of genres for 40+ years, and every once in a wonderful while I stumble across a masterpiece that fortifies my love of prose. "The Book of Bright Ideas" is a precious gem among the junk jewelry of average reads. Button, narrator, gifts a summer to remember as her new best friend, Winnalee, blows into town in a beat-up pick-up driven by her sister, Freeda. Fierce, fearless, and opinionated, 10 year old Winnalee is bound to stir up Button's quietly sad childhood. Through their myriad of adventures, planned and NOT SO PLANNED, life lessons are earned. So many life lessons that Winnalee and Button strive to savor them in "A Book of Bright Ideas," which will quarentee their happiness in the future. Oh, that it could be true!

Kring has a gift of vivid description, rich dialogue, nearly ethereal insight and flavorful charm. Like Harper Lee, Sue Kidd Monk, Kaye Gibbons, and other greats, her work demands and receives your full attention and your deepest respect.

This is brilliant writing at it's finest....read this book and remember why you ever started reading in the first place.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bright AND Beautiful, September 27, 2006
By 
Michelaneous by Michele (Sandy Point Resort, Northwoods Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
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 girl named Winnalee, but also between the women in their lives, the exotic and wild Freeda, the conservative and self-loathing Jewel, and the lovable and joyful Aunt Verdella. I found the voice of the narrator captivating and consistent, so pure in spirit--dripping with innocence--that I was completely engrossed in her story of the summer Freeda and Winnalee showed up in their small Wisconsin town.

The characters and the relationships are complicated and intriguing. Winnalee, a gypsy of a girl obsessed with fairies, dress-up clothes, and the urn holding the ashes of her "Ma," carries around a display book of blank pages with the title "Great Expectations," in which she records bright ideas as they come to her. She numbers them and has a goal to reach 100 bright ideas, believing this magical number will allow her to know all the secrets of life. When she moves into Button's dead grandmother's house, Winnalee becomes Button's best friend and allows Button to add ideas to the book as they come to her. The ideas are never random, but always based on a personal experience and refreshingly down to earth and amusing. For example, "Bright Idea #90: After you play beauty shop, your husband might say you look like a beauty queen, or he might just ask you where the Phillips screwdriver is. Either way, it doesn't matter, as long as your new hair makes you think nice things about yourself." I found myself devouring each chapter and particularly looking forward to the next bright idea.

I loved this book.

Michele Cozzens is the author of It's Not Your Mother's Bridge Club.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book, June 19, 2006
I just finished this book, and it was a delight from beginning to end. Sandra Kring made me care about every single character in the story, even when they were doing things I didn't like. She draws her characters with such clearsighted tenderness that they are full-color believable and utterly irresistable.

The scenes are so well-crafted that I felt as if I were in them, and happy to be there. Kring is a born writer. She tosses out profundities with casual ease and makes you laugh even when she's dealing with subjects that call for tears.

I did not want this book to end, and when I finished it, I immediately began hoping she'll write a sequel.

This is something special.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book of bright ideas, June 12, 2006
This is a story of friendship, learning about life for all ages, and well-kept secrets. I marvel at the way the author pulls complex elements together to conclude the story in a most satisfying manner. Very artfully crafted writing.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect novel for a hot summer day!, June 6, 2006
By 
I wish I had a childhood friend like Winnalee Monroe come visit me in the small Wisconsin town that I grew up in during the 1960s. Maybe I would have turned out a little less meek, a little more adventurous.

As she did in her heartfelt first novel "Carry Me Home", Sandra Kring combines humor and pathos to create a winning novel that lingers in your mind long after you've read it.

The novel brought back summer memories for me...fireworks and picnics, playing with friends and taking long car trips. School was out and an entire summer of possibilites beckoned.

Freeda Malone and her sister Winnalee come to the small town of Dauber during a hot Wisconsin summer and magically change the lives of some of its residents. Isn't that just the way with colorful people that you meet along the way? They have the power to spin you around just enough to make you different somehow. And that's just what happens to Aunt Verdella and Uncle Rudy; Jewel and Reece; and especially to Evelyn "Button" Peters.

Sandra Kring has given us a summer treasure in "The Book of Bright Ideas". I want more from this talented writer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the Book, Hated to put it Down, July 26, 2006
Such a delightful relief to pick up a book that takes you to a place you don't want to leave. The characters were each described enough so that we felt like we knew them but not so much that we were bored with them. Wonderful story of how people help each other without even knowing it. Perfect summer reading. Perfect anytime. Cannot wait to read "Carry Me Home". Hope Sandra Kring never stops writing !!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a darn good read!, July 3, 2006
I read and enjoyed Kring's first novel, Carry Me Home, so I picked up The Book of Bright Ideas and was anything but disappointed.

The Book of Bright Ideas is filled with memorable characters I think every reader will identify with, empathize with, or at least know someone just like them. They're characters I ended up caring about: The main character, Button Peters (a nervous, stressed-out kid), her emotionally distant father and strict/perfectionist mother, her goofy but fun-loving aunt and easy-going Uncle Rudy, her new neighbors--the outgoing but often crass Freeda, and most of all the imaginative, adventurous, and often unruly Winnalee Malone who turns out to be Button's `bestest friend ever'.

Throughout the novel, old emotional wounds are re-opened and lives and family relations change, sometimes for the better, and sometimes they simply fall apart. The characters learn and grow, from the youngest, Button, to her old Aunt Verdella. Everyone in life struggles as they learn and grow, and everyone make mistakes. The characters in this novel aren't any different.

Kring's novel is fast paced and full of twists and turns. Sometimes I was able to guess what was going to happen, but often I was surprised, thinking, that makes sense--I should've seen it coming.

It's a book that's just a darn good read about characters I'll long remember.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, July 16, 2006
Being unable to read the book myself, I had it read to me during a week-long vacation. Just as in "Carry Me Home" I wanted to sit down to dinner with Kring's characters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story of friendship, August 20, 2007
By 
This is another one of those great books that I discovered by accident. Narrated by 9-year-old Button, the story tells us of her unforgettable summer, made possible by the addition of a new friend. Ten-year-old Winnie is outspoken and wild compared to Button's quiet existence. She hauls the urn containing ashes of her dead mother around and shares her secret with Button - her book of bright ideas, which she adds to frequently to help teach her about life's lessons. However, there are family secrets soon to be discovered that will affect both girls and their families. The book is wonderfully written, making this point in time really come alive. It was a unique story, one which I enjoyed very much.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, October 1, 2006
I was pleasantly suprised with this book. I had never heard of this author and I basically got it as a book to read when I needed something quick; I was entranced with this book from the get-go! The summer of 1961 was life-changing for all involved, and the child innocence from Winnalee was refreshing. The book kept you guessing on how it was going to end (nothing given away here), and yet you somehow know how it will end. I would recommend this to anyone who would like a little refresher on seeing things through the eyes of a child and who tries to be an optimist. I will read this again.
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The Book of Bright Ideas: A Novel
The Book of Bright Ideas: A Novel by Sandra Kring (Mass Market Paperback - August 25, 2009)
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