Life is hard when you’re the baby of the family.
Clarence, the youngest and smallest of three boys, always feels outdone by his older, bigger brothers. Warm, colorful illustrations depict life on a farm for Clarence and his siblings, showing an earnest Clarence trying to do all his brothers can. But while they move animals, carry pails, clean out the barn and do other farm chores, Clarence, due to his size, feels he’s more a hindrance than a help. Luckily, Uncle Leon, a neighbor who can identify with Clarence’s plight, lives next door, and Clarence spends time watching him make repairs in his workshop and admiring his skills. When it’s time for the county fair, Clarence decides to enter the pig scramble, an event his brothers never won when they were his age, and with grit, perseverance and some advice from Uncle Leon, Clarence just might find his moment to shine. This old-fashioned story is warm and comforting, and though some youngsters may be impatient at the slower pace, the gentle suspense will draw readers in, and the satisfying end is its own reward. A realistic look at life on a farm, this selection provides an understanding portrait of a youngest child and extols the virtues of patience and friendship.A solid choice for home or school reading. (Picture book. 4-7)