The Ramble Shamble Children

Penguin/Nancy Paulsen. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399176326.
K-Gr 2–No need to “proper up” anything about this winning title. Soontornvat and Castillo have produced a charming tale of “ramble shamble” delightfulness. Five children of various skin tones live in a wonderfully worn-down home that suits them just perfectly “down the mountain, across the creek, past the last curve in the road.” They each have their roles to play in making their family work, including the youngest, Jory, who is brilliantly in charge of the mud. When they get the notion from a book that their house isn’t “proper” enough, the kids go on a renovation and cleaning spree. What they discover in the end is that their home suited them just perfectly before and that a little bit of mud is more than OK! Castillo’s illustrations, done with ink drawings digitally combined with Gelli monoprints, radiate light, warmth, and coziness. The story elements are perfectly balanced and the sense of community and family makes this a very satisfying book to share.
VERDICT Children love the idea of living on their own independent of adults and this book celebrates that desire with a masterful blend of illustration and story.

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