One Big Crafty Family

Little Simon. (Craftily Ever After: Bk. 8). May 2021. 128p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534466067; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781534466050.
K-Gr 3–Maddie, Bella, Sam, and Emily are back in the latest installment of this engaging early chapter book series. A charity school craft fair offers a chance for this diverse group of friends to join forces and create something extraordinary. When budding seamstress Maddie suggests bedazzled tops, computer whiz Bella votes for lava lamps, construction-queen Emily wants to make wind chimes, and painter Sam pushes for custom portraits, the foursome wonder if they should part ways. Each character feels sad at the prospect of the group breaking up, and Emily seeks comfort in remembering the words of her rabbi: “This too shall pass.” A field trip to the benefiting Senior Center introduces fellow crafter Bruce, who inspires the artists to come together for an “emergency craft fair meeting.” Readers will reach the same conclusion as the characters: Working together and combining everyone’s individual talents will always result in the perfect craft. Students who enjoy series such as “The Critter Club” will feel confident in this STEAM-inspired series with pictures on nearly every page and short, titled chapters. Crafty readers will appreciate the inclusion of simple step-by-step instructions to make a picture frame out of cardboard boxes and other simple household materials. Diversity is showcased by Yan’s illustrations: examples include Black character Maddie’s natural hair, realistic proportions on Ms. Gibbons, and older gentleman Bruce, who uses a wheelchair.
VERDICT Recommended for all libraries that serve elementary-age students.

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