A girl who loves to sing performs for her family in this series-starting picture book from debut author/illustrator Leftwich.
Narrator Caden, a pale, dark-haired boy with glasses, introduces readers to CedarWood Farms, where he and his similarly pale younger sister, Gracie, visit their grandparents M and Opa. At a family barbecue, Caden and Gracie get bored with the grown-ups’ discussion and decide to go play. Gracie climbs onto a flat rock, pretending it’s a stage; M hands her a faucet knob and pipe for a microphone, and she sings her heart out. Caden is initially leery that the performance is “going to take a while,” but he realizes how special the moment is for his sister; he calls her the “family rock star,” referring, in part, to the stone stage. The story has no real conflict, as the talented Gracie’s family loves and supports her. That said, Caden’s dismissive tone may frustrate readers who identify with Gracie; he also embraces a stereotype by calling his sister “all girl” because she loves dressing up and dancing. The flat, cartoon illustrations, featuring the narrator directly facing readers, have the effect of reinforcing his know-it-all tone. The vocabulary is appropriate for younger readers, and its relative ease will make the long paragraphs approachable.
Young, aspiring singers will enjoy Gracie’s antics—if not her brother’s commentary.