Though the first-person narrator is a bit of a brat, elementary schoolers will likely enjoy her snarky approach to life.



This second entry in Suerth’s (Crazy Summer, 2013) middle-grade series follows fifth-grader Sofie Czerny through her first few months at a new school in Stevens Point, Wis.

Sofie’s family—herself, her parents and little sister, Izzy—lives with her Grandma Ursula, a scatterbrained free spirit and owner of the titular wig. Rather, she’s the former owner, since Sofie accidentally set it on fire in the previous book. But miracle of miracles, when Grandma Ursula drags Sofie to a thrift store on a school-supplies shopping trip, she finds a new-to-her wig in the same style—a “poop-color brown fur ball, shaped like a football helmet,” as Sofie snidely refers to it. More episodic slices of life follow: Sofie’s lonely first day of school; an embarrassing lice outbreak that she blames on Grandma Ursula’s used wig; failed flirtation with her dreamy neighbor, Andrew; a mortifying YouTube fiasco involving an Xbox-aided dance routine that Sofie unwisely chooses to do in her underwear and training bra. It all culminates in her other (and favorite) grandmother’s Black Friday wedding to motorcycle-riding, ponytailed Earl Lee Burd, who shows up with Hannah, the redheaded granddaughter he raised, with whom Sofie becomes friends. There’s a good deal of madcap action and several embarrassing moments, and kids Sofie’s age and a little younger will be plenty amused. Older readers, especially adults, may be less charmed by the humor and Sofie’s asides: She’s often mean-spirited, as when she complains about the “gross smell” of the thrift store or arbitrarily decides to find reasons not to like Earl Lee. Her continued dislike of Grandma Ursula also seems unfair; despite her dubious taste in wigs, Ursula is a fun, if flighty, character, the kind who could easily be the beloved “wacky grandma” in a different series.

Though the first-person narrator is a bit of a brat, elementary schoolers will likely enjoy her snarky approach to life.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0988268517

Page Count: 162

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2014

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.


On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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