When Emma learns that her family is about to adopt a 4-year-old boy, she is thrilled. She has always wanted a little brother and is convinced Max will be the best brother ever. Her friend Sally isn't so sure. "He will be a pest," she says. "All brothers are pests." When Max finally arrives, Emma is stunned that things don't go the way she expects them to. Max had looked little and sweet in the photograph. In real life he looks big, he doesn't smile at her, and he says her homemade cookies are yucky. It's going to take a lot of understanding and some changes in perception for Emma and her new brother to find a way into each other's hearts.
Jean Little's superb early chapter book captures all the emotional ups and downs of adoption and sheds some light on the complex and stressful transition from foster home to adoptive family. Jennifer Plecas manages to portray a world of feelings on the expressive faces of her simply drawn characters and track the evolving moods of the entire family as they move toward empathy and acceptance. Adoptive families will find this sequel to Emma's Magic Winter a great addition to their libraries, as will any reader going through difficult changes. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-Emma has wanted a little brother for as long as she can remember, so when her parents are about to adopt four-year-old Max, she is excited. First, though, she needs to overcome his seeming dislike for her. The relationship is rocky, but in the end both siblings recognize the special bond they share. The children's reactions to the new family dynamics are realistic and the steps involved in Max's move from a foster home to his adoptive family will leave readers with a much better understanding of the emotional toll such a move has on everyone involved. These feelings are adeptly captured in the art. The expressive faces of Emma, Max, and their parents reflect the many moods of this evolving family. The gentle tone makes this book a wonderful resource for parents and caregivers/foster families helping youngsters understand this process of acceptance and change.Maura Bresnahan, Shawsheen School, Andover, MA
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