It's Just So by Brenda Faatz

It's Just So

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A rhyming, read-aloud debut children’s book that tracks the mercurial adventures of a young girl during her first day at a new school.

Lizzy is prone to extreme emotions and flights of fancy in this richly illustrated tale. She begins the day scared at the thought of a brand-new school and is a bit intimidated as she boards the bus: “It’s just so…tall.” Although the school is “so big” and the books are “so wordy,” Lizzy quickly takes over the class by jumping on the desk “and surpised [sic] everyone, / acting out stories— / what crazy good fun!” From then on, Lizzy’s day becomes increasingly outrageous. Learning numbers is “just so...mathemagical,” science is “just so...fizz-astro-fantastical,” learning about animals is “just so...wombatty,” and so on. This fanciful language, combined with the whimsical illustrations, may amuse young children. However, some invented words, such as “oompa-pa chugga-doo-zippidy-la” and “oookie glub-dripping,” may be confusing. Lizzy’s madcap day also includes some low moments, as when she sits alone at lunch: “It’s just so lonely...me only,” she says—a sentiment she repeats at bedtime. But she soon gets up the courage to talk to other kids, immediately making friends, and at bedtime something “fantastical” happens when animals from her day, including a bunny, turtle, and a dog, crawl into her bedroom to snuggle. As a protagonist, Lizzy is a bit of a cipher. For example, she’s intimidated by the tall bus, yet she still bravely climbs the stairs and feels “oh-so-big”; she immediately takes command during the reading lesson, but at lunchtime she’s lonely. The action sequences become frenzied; a science lesson, for example, includes split atoms along with the beakers and test tubes. Indeed, the book’s overall portrayal of school moves from intriguing to disorienting and hysterical, and the illustrations reflect this chaos. Lizzy’s distinctive appearance, meanwhile, includes a hairstyle that falls somewhere between Conan O’Brien’s and Pippi Longstocking’s.

An anarchic romp for kids who enjoy suspending logic and reason during their school day.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-9970851-0-5
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Notable Kids Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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