SUPER LEXI IS NOT A FAN OF CHRISTMAS

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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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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