Becky Chalmers Beautified review in The Midwest Review

What would you give to be beautiful? Ten-year-old Becky has her perceptions of beauty—and they don't include her looks. 

That's why she wishes for something different on her birthday: the type of beauty that turns heads. Including her own. 

As advanced elementary-grade readers absorb these eight short stories about Becky Chalmers, they will be called upon to think about their own definitions of beauty and how these can change over time. 

Diane Campbell Green introduces a discussion of the subject for readers of a much younger age than the usual beauty-oriented audience. But, Becky Chalmers Beautified isn't about physical, outward beauty alone. 

As Becky investigates cosmetics and other approaches to enhancing her outward beauty, she receives lessons in beauty that help her understand what the real goal is: appealing to herself rather than to others. 

Becky does more than contemplate. As she interacts with psychiatrist Mr. O-Angel, her family, and her friends, Becky receives gentle lessons about the elements which make her royalty in her own mind as well as in the eyes of others. 

Green cultivates a soft, appealing atmosphere in these lessons which uses interpersonal interactions and revelations to introduce these life-changing moments of realization. 

Life revolves around more than beauty. Becky learns about adaptation, as well; from a challenging new move to Massachusetts to a return to Yardley and being able to perceive when others around her are unhappy. 

As lessons about faith, kindness, and friendship unfold, young readers receive a compelling story about growth that ideally will be discussed in reading groups and with adult assistance to be sure the book's valuable messages are completely understood.

 The result is an excitingly original probe into everyday life, growth, and perception of self and others that opens with the story of Becky's desires to change and takes transformation and self-improvement to new levels of understanding for elementary grade readers.

 Libraries and parents seeking materials that lend to young reader enlightenment about emotional and physical beauty will find Becky Chalmers Beautified provides the rare opportunity to better understand the world and one's place in it.

Book available soon on