That Lois Lowry is a splendid writer for children and young adults is attested by the Newbery Medals that her books have earned. The first of these awards was for Number the Stars (1989), a book dealing with the efforts of Danish citizens to save their Jewish friends and neighbors from the Nazis during World War II. A second was for The Giver (1993), a fantasy/science-fiction book dealing with an oppressive cult. Anastasia Krupnik garnered no such awards, but it did engender numerous sequels; indeed, the Anastasia books have become like a series.
Series books are generally held in low regard by children’s literature critics, although there are exceptions. Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books are almost universally beloved, although whether these books could truly be classified as series in the same way as the Babysitter’s Club books is debatable. Whether the term “series” could apply to the Anastasia books is also questionable, but the novels have been so popular that Lowry had written a total of nine books in the group by 1996.
Unfortunately, books as smoothly written, as light, and as humorous as the Anastasia books seldom reach the consideration of Newbery Medal committees. Nevertheless, these novels are high in quality and have significance. Teachers and students might become aware of them for the pleasures and the values they impart. Anastasia herself is an interesting, rounded, realistic character, and she seems to have found a place in the hearts of many young readers.