cover image Almost


Richard L. Torrey, . . HarperCollins, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-156166-5

In this chipper story, “almost six”-year-old Jack chronicles all the things he can do (almost) since he's “almost grown up.” Torrey's (the Beans Baker series) pencil-and-watercolor illustrations have an up-close perspective that makes readers privy to the warmly humorous truth behind Jack's assertions. Smoke pours from the toaster and Jack sloshes milk across the kitchen table (“I can almost make my own breakfast”); his attempt to build a robot is shown to be a jury-rigged vacuum cleaner with the addition of a spatula, football helmet and baseball glove; and his “almost” winning home run is more of a duck-and-cover maneuver as the umpire announces “Strike three!” Children impatient to step into the shoes of their older siblings or friends will find a kindred spirit in Jack and take comfort in his literal ups and downs. Touching and true to life. Ages 4–8. (May)