I Wanna New Room

32p. 978-0-39925-405-5.
K-Gr 3—In this companion to I Wanna Iguana (Putnam, 2004), irrepressible Alex is back with a new entreaty—his own room, puh-leez—played out in another series of letter exchanges. Now sharing a room with his younger brother in the wake of his sister's birth, Alex delivers his first written plea to Mom, who, in the depths of postpartum exhaustion, refers him to his father. Thus do Alex and his good-natured dad begin their own guy-to-guy letter exchange, with Alex detailing Ethan's various transgressions ("He sticks crayons up his nose and barks like a walrus!") and his reasonable father reminding him that he was no different at the age of four. Back and forth go Alex's complaints and his father's practical rejoinders until Dad suggests that they build a tree house together, where surely Alex can find some peace and quiet. Indeed, it's too quiet—and Alex's final letter is to Ethan, inviting him to play in his new retreat. The last page shows the brothers happily ascending the tree-house ladder together. As spun out in the exchanges, the child vs. parent points of view and the sibling rivalry all ring hilariously true. Catrow's zany pencil and watercolor illustrations capture perfectly the madcap daydreams in Alex's head as well as the familiar detritus of a young boy's room. (The iguana still lives there!) A surefire kid-pleaser with a subtle, sweet lesson in peaceful coexistence.—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
Alex, forced to share a room with his younger brother ever since his sister was born, engages in a letter-writing volley with his father, with whom he pleads for his own space. The trademark grotesquerie of Catrow's illustrations (the kids look like sunburned old men) is offset by the book's humor and the affection undergirding even the most histrionic of the father-son exchanges.

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