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by Mike Bender & Doug Chernack

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-399-54984-7
Publisher: Crown

The team behind Awkward Family Photos (2010) unveils a playfully cringeworthy collection of kid-centered photos submitted to their website, celebrating the idea that “everything and everyone is awkward.”

The opening text orients readers to the creators’ construction of the word awkward: “It’s kind of a silly word. But all it really means is that everything isn’t always perfect.” Ensuing double-page spreads juxtapose sedate, run-of-the-mill photos on the verso with, well, awkward corresponding images on the recto. Readers may laugh at the candid shots (or may worry a bit), many of which could be stills from an America’s Funniest Home Videos episode. Take, for example, pages that show how even sleeping can be awkward: an Asian child sleeps serenely on a bed made up with flowered sheets on the verso, while a white child with blond ringlets sits in a decidedly awkward pose on the floor, leaning face-first against table legs on the recto. As for "everyone"? A verso image of an interracial Asian and white couple with their biracial kids is a sweet family portrait; meanwhile, on the recto, a photo of a black family shows “AWKWARD” parents smooching their adorable—and thoroughly aghast—baby on either cheek. The closing text assures readers that life is made interesting by its awkward moments as it encourages individuality and playfulness.

(Mostly) totally awkward fun.

(Picture book. 4-8)