From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–In a time before electricity, the Just-So Woman lives on a farm and encounters a number of stumbling blocks during a typical day. She has no butter for her morning bread, the stool is broken so she can't milk the cow, her cat licks the spoon she is using, and she is out of soap for washing. Since everything in her life must be just-so, she ends up eating nothing until suppertime, when her neighbor, the Any-Way Man, convinces her to simply enjoy her bread without butter, dipped in tea. The writing in this beginning reader is as uninteresting as the Just-So Woman's day. She feeds the cat. She feeds the cows and chickens. Then she fixes her breakfast. She brews some mint tea. She cuts a thick slice of bread. But there is not a bit of butter. The illustrations, which appear to be done in watercolors, capture the era and add some charm, but overall the Just-So Woman's story is just so-so.–Melinda Piehler, Sawgrass Elementary School, Sunrise, FL
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With a mix of mayhem and hands-on facts about daily work, this I Can Read! book tells a lively story of farm life before electricity came. The Just-So Woman is neat and orderly, but when she runs out of butter, soap, and other things, she asks her messy neighbor, the Any-Way Man, for help. He finds a bullet mold, not a butter mold, then shows her that bread doesn't always need butter; it's delicious when it's dunked in tea. The farm woman's exclamations are fun ("Oh, drat!" "Oh, applesauce"), and Manning's colorful cartoon-style pictures show the silly slapstick mess close-up, including a smug cat, a glaring cow, and a nest of mice in the Just-So Woman's hat. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved