I finally finished reading The Beejum Book. It took a while to polish off not because of the wacky high-speed circus that is my life but because it is my Car Book and therefore only gets read at particularly long stoplights or during a serendipitous convergence of Leelo being at school/Iz being at school/Mali napping in the car/Me having a few spare moments.
Full disclosure: I bought it at the Wald0rffy store in Sebastop0l, and I was initially lured in because the book uses similar jacket design to and the same artist as the Snicketry Series of Unfortunate Stuff.
I am still processing my opinion of the book. I can't fault it for being unimaginative, though the twee character names can be grating. I am curious about what sort of child the author thinks would enjoy it--its overabundance of overexplainy passages suggest Even C0wgirls Get the Blues written for a Chronicles of Narn!a audience. As though the author spent her entire life (and the book was published when she was 80) storing up all the wisdom she ever wished she could impart to children and wished she'd realized when she was a child, and then interjected all that 'splaining into an otherwise sweet and fanciful tale of a little girl's imaginary world.
There may be kids out there who want The Meaning of Life shoved down their throats, but I suspect most children want their morals and meanings cloaked in examples and allegories instead. Most kids get pissed off if they realize a story is piggybacking on pedantry.
Adults would probably think a child would need to read The Beejum Book more than a child would want to read it. Which is too bad, because its story and heroine would have been just as interesting if all the epiphanies and self-realizations were toned down. Especially since the heroine is a little girl who gets to travel all over Europe and comment on all the different customs and people she sees, from a very believable and engaging perspective.