JUST PERFECT by Jane Marinsky


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 5
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Searching for a new family member, a little boy considers a number of animal choices before finding something "just perfect."

“Mommy, Daddy and I made three, but we thought we might like four.” Cuddled between his mother and father on the porch swing, this observant child narrates the story of finding an addition to the family. With a spare storyline and rich, warm illustrations, Marinsky parades through a number of ill-fitting animal choices. The dog sheds too much. Walking the turtle takes too long. The litany of unsatisfactory animals quickly veers into the absurd with a dolphin swimming in the living room and the kitchen being destroyed by an octopus. The young boy, found in every picture, personally witnesses the reason each animal is not selected. At last, the perfect addition is found, in the person of a baby sibling the little boy addresses directly. The combination of text and image may confuse, as it slips in and out of the surreal. Overall, the whole book has a calm tone, and there is a gentle kindness in the older brother that appeals; in the last picture, he reads an animal book to the new baby.

Since the shelves are crowded with titles in the preparing-for-the-new-baby genre, choose this only if there is room for one with its sophisticated tone in both voice and image. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-56792-428-2
Page count: 34pp
Publisher: Godine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2012


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