Andrew’s interests threaten to get the better of him in this tongue-in-cheek take on an all-too-common plight.
Returning to the best buddies introduced in Edie’s Ensembles (2014), Spires follows bustling chickadee Andrew as he piles on activities. His natural acting talent leads him to sharpen his public-speaking skills by joining debate club, increase coordination by signing up for ballet and karate lessons—and then he tacks on chess, tennis, bagpipes, French film club, and more. Instead of pushy parents, though, it’s a combination of teachers, importunate schoolmates, and his grandmother that join his own initiative in spurring him on. Unsurprisingly, before long he’s so exhausted he can’t stay awake even for the 15 minutes he determinedly reserves for his patient friend Edie each Friday afternoon. Finally he even misses an entrance cue—which is such a bummer (“He felt just like a character in a French film”) that he quits it all except drama and French cinema, leaving him time to join Edie and other friends in some unbridled, unscheduled hanging out. Reflecting Andrew’s thespian predilections, the technically adroit illustrations feature small but broadly expressive animal figures in colorful dress, all placed in spacious, minimally detailed monochromatic settings that focus attention on the activity or emotional tenor of the moment.
For children, a whimsical word of warning. For their parents, a pleasant surprise that this time they’re not made out to be at fault. (Picture book. 7-9)