Oh, Sal: A Family Miller Story

Greenwillow. Sept. 2022. 144p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063244924.
Gr 1-4–Sal has a lot going on—a new sister, a visiting uncle, an annoying brother, and a missing pair of underpants. The four-year-old sister of Billy Miller from Henkes’s previous middle grade novels, Sal received a set of flowered, days-of-the-week undies for Christmas. When her favorite pair goes missing, she’s heartbroken. Papa and Mama help her search the house, and when the undies still can’t be found, they help take her mind off this very big dilemma. Just when things start looking up, another problem occurs. Sal feels unprepared to deal with it all, but her family—even the new baby—shows her that big problems can sometimes have unexpected and wonderful outcomes. With his characteristic charm, Henkes takes readers straight into the microcosm of a little girl’s world where small things mean everything, and imagination helps process emotions; readers will easily feel at home. The picture-perfect narrative creates a natural world filled with a relatable and engaging cast that feels more like family than book characters. The wholesome plot feels authentic and warm. The only downfall of this book is that it is marketed as middle grade because of the previous books when it will resonate far more with the chapter book audience.
VERDICT A lovely, honest story perfect for fans of Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks or for those looking for a read-aloud for young children.

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