Thursday, February 01, 2018

Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters

28185799Wild, Ailsa. Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters
February 1st 2016 by Hardie Grant Egmont
E ARC from Netgalley

Squishy (nee Sita) is living in an apartment with her father, stepmother, new  half brother, and older twin stepsisters. Her mother took a job in Geneva, Switzerland, and since Squishy didn't want to leave her school or her friends, she contents herself with video chats with her mom and trying her best to share a room and get along with Vee and Jessie. When Squishy is in the apartment parking garage, she meets a boy who has run away from home. "Not-John" Smith, as she calls him, asks Squishy to bring him food, and she obliges, because she thinks his father might be the evil Mr. Hinkenbushel, who often yells and the Taylor children for being loud in the hallway. Vee finds out about the boy, and insists on being included. In the meantime, the girls gang up against Mr. Hinkenbushel to get revenge, and leave dog poop on his doormat, which ends up stinking up the entire apartment hallway. Eventually, the boy's father (who has thought that he was with a grandmother) puts out a flyer to find him, and Squishy finally decides to tell people about him.
Strengths: This is the first book in a long series of chapter books aimed at 2-5 graders. The illustrations are charming, and the characters are well developed. I enjoyed the fact that the parents were all involved and supportive, if a little clueless. The realities of dealing with a blended family will appeal to readers who have to deal with them and those who can only imagine what it is like to have "bonus: siblings. I love that the fact that Squishy is half Indian is hardly even addressed; that's what we are looking for now in diversity.
Weaknesses: Squishy is not a nice child. The incidents with Mr. Hinkenbushel show a lack of understanding and real mean spiritedness. She also should have known to tell an adult right away about "Not-John".
What I really think: Even with my increase in struggling readers, I think I will pass. The hardcovers are $19, and while paperbacks are only about $6, they don't hold up. I may read the next book to see if Squishy gets any nicer, especially since the rest of the series has more mystery, and I did like most of the other characters in the book.

Ms. Yingling

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