You’re SO Amazing!

Little, Brown. (What Happened to You?: Bk. 2). Apr. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316506571.
PreS-Gr 3–Joe, the modest but imaginative child from What Happened to You?, a story of the irrelevance of his having “only” one leg, returns. Still blond, still in a striped shirt, Joe hates the titular phrase. He knows he is not amazing, he is just like everyone else, and he certainly wishes all of the other children and adults would understand that Joe is not defined by his limbs or lack of them. When he hears anyone say how “amazing” he is, it stops the game. It stops him from playing. He and Simone, who understands, try different games, including one where Joe decides to be invisible so Simone’s powerful jumps can be admired on their own. But no one notices her. They think about “poor Joe,” who can’t run and jump. Condescension and patronizing remarks run rampant in this picture book, which will have adults cringing in recognition. A note from the Catchpoles includes a photo of a baby, a small girl, an adult man with one leg, and a woman using a wheelchair. To children, this will read simply as “family.” Joe’s own actions are to surround himself with people who get it and don’t think of him as “The Joe Show,” at least until everyone else catches up. This book, with its Bob Graham–style cheerful cartoons and utterly common-sense approach, should be in every library. It pulls no punches and lets everyone play on a level field.
VERDICT This book, about perfectly normal children having a great time, is absolutely amazing.

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