Publisher's Note:  

Debbie Bass just celebrated her ninth birthday. While she thought most of the presents were kind of lame, she loves the journal that her mother gave her. Debbie has always had trouble keeping secrets so she has decided to write all of her secrets in her new journal, addressing every entry to God. She figures that there is a good chance that God won’t tell anyone what she is writing! Join the fun as Debbie lives up to her unfortunate nickname and shares the trials and tribulations of growing up. From trying to be more girly (and failing miserably) to exciting adventures with her brother and the neighborhood kids, to facing humiliation at school, Keeping Secrets is a heartwarming, funny, and very real book about growing up female. Kids everywhere are falling head over heels for Debbie, a girl who is as honest about her red hair and freckles, lack of girlfriends, and getting picked last for dodgeball as she is about her first crush and the fact that she just can’t keep a secret.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Cadence Group

Journals of the Big Mouth Bass: Keeping Secrets (Book 1)

by Debbie Sue Bass Williamson

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Overall Review:  

There was so much packed into this little journal of nine year old Debbie Bass.  It takes place in the early 1960’s and it was fascinating to view some of the politics of the time through the eyes of a young girl!  There was the Kennedy assassination and subsequent ‘election’ of Johnson; the beginning of Ronald Reagan’s career; the confusion over her mother’s change from Democrat to Republican (the only difference she sees is there’s an elephant now instead of a donkey).  Throughout the whole story we enjoy the candid voice of a child who just can’t understand why things don’t always happen the way she has planned!  She has red hair and freckles and thinks she’s ugly, she is picked last for dodge ball, and worst of all, the whole town knows of her nickname: The Big Mouth Bass.  We find out why she has that nickname, and furthermore, why it sticks!  One of the fun things about ‘journal based’ books is we are able to see many little everyday occurrences, such as magical tea parties, building forts, explorations of hills and pits, surprise parties, visits from grandparents, ‘fish-sitting’ (that was hilarious!), political party crashing (also hilarious) and even auditions for a big commercial in Hollywood!  Debbie gets grounded for life a few times, makes friends, falls in love, and even experiences horrendous heartbreak.  ‘Keeping Secrets’ is a charming and tender little book that can be enjoyed by everyone.  I look forward to reading more of Debbie’s adventures!

Content Analysis:  

The main character starts off by mentioning that her mom writes her journal to God, so she’s going to do the same.  So, of course, she addresses God in each and every entry.  I thought it was sweet, and didn’t feel it to be a mockery at all.  Sometimes a character is quoted as using a ‘bad word’, and she’ll go on using the word wondering why it’s bad when it’s really an animal.  

The only act of violence is when a character throws marbles at fish to try to hit them (he kills them—and gets in trouble).  A character dies and it is very sad.  It’s not because of an act of violence, just a sad accident.  

Mature Subject Matter:  

Some of the themes would be the existence of magic, friendship, acts of destruction, and death.

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Reviewed By Emily
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