A reimagined Mary Poppins, set in 21st-century Chicago, with a Mr. Gedrick playing the role of the magical nanny restoring a family from grief.
Mr. Gedrick, with his green felt jacket, red tie, and crisp white shirt, channels fatherly advice with impeccable timing and just a touch of magic. And the Darrow family needs help. Jonathan was the stay-at-home dad, and his death has shattered the lives of his wife and three children. Elsa, the gifted architect mother, has lost her creative drive on an important project. Older son Fergus has retreated to baseball. Daughter Amelia, also a talented artist, hides in her room alone. It is the neglected Stanley, the endlessly optimistic narrator and youngest in the family, who connects with Mr. Gedrick and drives the whole story. (All are white.) While the death-of-a-parent genre skews serious and mystical, Carman flips this, keeping the tone as funny, energetic, and bighearted as Stanley himself. Fans of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Nurse Matilda will approve while glimpsing the unsettling effects of grief. Mr. Gedrick is the fairy godfather every child needs: present, engaging, and thoughtful. But is he magical enough to fix both the family and Mom’s important project?
The funny and comforting way this lovely family slowly turns away from sadness is a balm for all readers—there are not many like it on the shelves. (Fiction. 8-12)