Author Lesko and illustrator Winsor (Super Lexi, 2014) bring their winning heroine back for a sequel in which she expresses her grumpy—but understandable—attitude about Christmas.
Second-grader Lexi is not a fan of “hoopla”: “It’s loud like an explosion. Also, it’s full of surprises. I have a phobia of those things.” So when she finds out that there will be a class Christmas party, complete with a mystery-present exchange, she begins plotting ways to get out of it. Lexi has an unnamed social disorder that makes her react differently to things, such as parties, that the rest of her peers enjoy. She gets very uncomfortable, for example, if she breaks rules or lies, so she studiously avoids those behaviors, and she sometimes has trouble finding the right words. She becomes convinced that, in order to avoid the party, she’ll have to get on Santa’s naughty list. She’s even willing to risk the “feeling of barf” she gets by being naughty if it gets her out of “hoopla.” In this second series installment, Lexi has a best friend, Kaylee, who helps her think about how her words and actions affect other people; for example, when her humbug attitude destroys Kaylee’s feeling of Christmas magic, Lexi immediately reins in her behavior to keep her friend happy. In return, Kaylee offers Lexi understanding, accepting her quirks without comment: “I am a fan of the way Kaylee always says ‘OK,’ ” Lexi says. “She doesn’t say stuff like ‘Everybody likes Christmas hoopla, Lexi!’ like other people.” When Lexi realizes that her naughty-list plan might ruin her friend’s holiday, she must come to terms with how her behavior affects not only herself, but her whole class. Lexi is just as delightful a narrator in this sequel as she was in the first book, and her new friendship with Kaylee is well-developed. Lexi’s parents’ understanding of her needs has also grown since the first volume, and the book exhibits their beautifully positive parent-child relationship. Although Lexi eventually finds something to like about Christmas, Lesko never undermines her struggles by offering an easy fix. Middle-grade readers, whether or not they have neurodevelopmental disorders, will root for Lexi and look forward to future adventures.

Hurrah (but no “hoopla”) for the return of Super Lexi!

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0991431014

Page Count: 102

Publisher: Red Leather Books, LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2014

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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