My Brave Year of Firsts: Tries, Sighs, and High Fives

Jamie Lee Curtis, Author, Laura Cornell, Illustrator
Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. by Laura Cornell. HarperCollins/Cotler, $16.99 (32p), ISBN 978-0-06-144155-4
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Curtis and Cornell use the occasion of their 10th collaboration to take readers on a journey through the firsts in the life of a fabulously pigtailed, snaggle-toothed girl named Frankie. Curtis sums it up nicely: "Some firsts just happen./ Some come when I try./ Some firsts make me smile./ Some firsts make me cry." The key to making the most of a first—whether good (first walk around the block without Mom), bad (first minor theft, first lie), or a matter of mastery (learning how to skip rope)—comes down to curiosity, a willingness to learn from both triumphs and mistakes, and a hearty dose of that old-fashioned character trait known as grit. Frankie has it all, and Cornell has a great time capturing it, filling her pages with endearingly goofy kids, wide open opportunities, and a healthy dose of social satire (in Frankie's kindergarten class, the "What I did over the summer" bulletin board admonishes "Do not tell us you went to the beach or to Disneyland"). Even when Curtis's rhyming goes a little flat or verges on saccharine, readers will recognize familiar milestones in Frankie's catalogue of experiences. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
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