Two students learn to own up to their mistakes—and not to put gum or doughnuts in their backpacks—in actor Moore’s new early-reader series.
Freckleface Strawberry loves bugs, and her backpack has bugs on it. Inside, she has pencils, homework, and gum. Similarly, Windy Pants Patrick (readers don’t find out the reason for the name) loves dogs, and his backpack contains pencils, homework, and a doughnut. Their parents (mom and dad for Freckleface, two moms for Patrick) don’t know the kids have added snacks to their bags. The next day at school, when it’s time to hand in their homework, the two learn why it’s such a bad idea. The teacher praises their maps, thinking they’ve added mountains, but after school, they own up to the truth. While Moore uses short sentences, repetition, and relatively easy vocabulary (aside from her characters’ names), those are not the only ingredients for a successful early reader. Readers also want a compelling story and interesting, three-dimensional characters, both of which are seriously lacking here. Pham’s illustrations are serviceable and feature people with brightly colored hair and skin that lacks color—they are all literally white, save a single brown girl with black hair.
Though the series continues, readers are not likely to want to meet Freckleface Strawberry and Windy Pants Patrick again. (Early reader. 4-7)