Acclaimed author's Wilson's (The Leaving) disarming prequel to the beloved classic Anne of Green Gables gets off to a slow start but picks up momentum when the focus shifts from the heroine's parents to Anne herself. Orphaned in infancy, Anne is shuffled from one family to the next; despite poverty, hardship and heartbreak, she retains her indomitable spirit and an intense hunger for knowledge. Raudman's childlike voice has an innocent quality in keeping with Anne's sense of wonder and hope. She keeps a steady pace, allowing readers to enjoy the story as Wilson masterfully rounds out Anne's early life. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (reviewed online). (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.