An appealing tale for an expanding family.

IT'S JUST SO... LITTLE!

A picture-book sequel continues to explore the life of a rambunctious, redheaded protagonist as she prepares to become a big sister.

At the outset, Lizzy discovers that she is growing out of some of her clothes, which her mother informs her will be suitable hand-me-downs for her new sibling. As Lizzy comes to terms with the concept of an addition to the family, she discovers a small, beat-up sapling in her backyard. She decides to tend to this tree (“ ‘We can help little one,’ / Lizzy said with a smile. / ‘Come grow and get strong. / Stay with us for a while’ ”). Then the reader watches Lizzy learn to maintain the tree as the seasons pass; she waters it with a hose and makes sure it is warm in winter. As spring flows into summer, “Lizzy’s wee tree / had grown fuller and stronger.” After it outgrows its pot, Lizzy plants her tree in the yard “with love and great care.” The story implies that nurturing this tree will prepare the heroine for caring for her future sibling. Faatz and Trimarco’s (It’s Just So, 2015) tale is written in Dr. Seuss–esque verse, with the occasional nonrhyming line containing an invented word (for example, “Snowbomidable” and “TREEMONDO-MONGOUS”). The poetry flows evenly and should be entertaining for young readers. Trimarco’s illustrations also have a Seussian touch, at least in the characters’ gravity-defying hairstyles. The pictures are clean, colorful, simple, and engaging; they depict a happy Caucasian family and Lizzy’s beloved white dog with distinctive ears. While there is a plethora of picture books dealing with the issue of becoming an older sibling, this one breaks the mold by using the gentle metaphor of the tiny tree to allow young readers to draw their own connections. Lizzy is a cute and relatable protagonist, someone who wants to be an effective helper and a reliable sister. This delightful volume will likely remain a staple for readers anticipating a new baby.

An appealing tale for an expanding family.

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9970851-2-9

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Notable Kids Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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