The New Small Person

Elmore Green starts life as an only child, as many children do. He has a room to himself, where he can line up his precious things and nobody will move them one inch. But one day everything changes. When the new small person comes along, it seems that everybody might like it a bit more than they like Elmore Green. And when the small person knocks over Elmore’s things and even licks his jelly-bean collection, Elmore’s parents say that he can’t be angry because the small person is only small. Elmore wants the small person to go back to wherever it came from. Then, one night, everything changes.

My Cousin’s Keeper

When the odd new kid at school turns out to be his cousin, Kieran feels embarrassed and resentful. But how far will he let the bullying go? Eleven-year-old Kieran wants to be part of the “in” group at school. He wants to be on the soccer team. He wants to fit in. But then his weird cousin Bon turns up, both at school and at home. Bon knows nothing about fitting in, with his long blond braid, babyish hand-knit hat, and funny, precise voice. Bon doesn’t play sports, and he likes to draw imaginary maps with stories about “Bon the Crusader” and “Kieran the Brave.” He’s an easy target for teasing, and Kieran has little patience for him. Even more irritating, Bon’s only friend is the other new kid, a cool girl named Julia who wears cowboy boots and has a confidence that fascinates Kieran. What could she and Bon possibly have in common? With unflinching honesty, My Cousin’s Keeper takes on childhood jealousy, family secrets, and unexpected kindness.

Join the discussion of My Cousin’s Keeper as well as other books centered around relocation on our My Take/Your Take page.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume VII, Issue 3

Here Comes Hortense!

What could be more fun for a six-year-old than having your nana and her new husband take you to a theme park? But the fun is spoiled when Nana and Bob announce that they’ve planned a surprise: they are going to be joined by Bob’s granddaughter, Hortense. It turns out to be the worst surprise ever. Nana shares her room with Hortense instead of her disgruntled little grandson. She sings her special good-night song to Hortense. She goes on all the scary rides with Hortense. And, worst of all, Hortense has a special name for Nana.

A perceptive and hilarious exploration of rivalry, there’s a gentle lesson for readers, young and old.

Jasper John Dooley

At last, it’s Jasper John Dooley’s turn to be Star of the Week at school. Unfortunately, nothing turns out as planned. His Show and Tell falls flat. A new baby at his friend Ori’s house steals his spotlight. And worst of all, the new baby has only-child Jasper wondering if his own family is too small. When Jasper decides to build himself a brother (named Earl) out of wood, Earl’s schoolyard shenanigans send Jasper to the principal’s office! But with a little help from family and friends, things turn around for Jasper. And by the time Friday arrives, he is once again sure that he has what it takes to be a star. Jasper John Dooley: Star of the Week is the first in a series of chapter books featuring a charismatic and funny central character. An only child with active, loving parents (and a most impressive lint collection), Jasper John Dooley is a true original.

Island’s End

A fascinating story set on a remote island untouched by time. Uido is ecstatic about becoming her tribe’s spiritual leader, but her new position brings her older brother’s jealousy and her best friend’s mistrust. And looming above these troubles are the recent visits of strangers from the mainland who have little regard for nature or the spirits, and tempt the tribe members with gifts, making them curious about modern life. When Uido’s little brother falls deathly ill, she must cross the ocean and seek their help. Having now seen so many new things, will Uido have the strength to believe in herself and the old ways? And will her people trust her to lead them to safety when a catastrophic tsunami threatens? Uido must overcome everyone’s doubts, including her own, if she is to keep her people safe and preserve the spirituality that has defined them.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 5, Issue 3.

Back into Mommy’s Tummy

On her fifth birthday, a little girl has an unusual birthday wish. She wants to go back to being a baby in her mother’s tummy. That way she’d never have to go to bed early, and she’d always be close to her mommy. But when she realizes that babies in tummies can’t go to birthday parties or play with their friends, it suddenly doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Could the real reason for her wish be that there’s a new baby in Mommy’s tummy already?