cover image No More Cornflakes

No More Cornflakes

Polly Horvath. Farrar Straus Giroux, $14 (134pp) ISBN 978-0-374-35530-2

There is rarely a dull moment in the Hemple household, which consists of fifth-grader Hortense, her older sister Letitia, their two nutty parents and Aunt Kate, a mystery writer. Life becomes even more topsy-turvy, however, when Mrs. Hemple announces that she is pregnant. As Hortense's mother becomes increasingly preoccupied with the baby's arrival, and Letitia spends less time at home, Hortense invents various projects to keep herself busy and bring the family closer together. When none of her schemes work out, Hortense realizes that she can do nothing to prevent the impending changes, and she ultimately understands that life can bring some wonderful surprises. The strength of this engaging novel lies in Horvath's ( An Occasional Cow ) original, captivating characterizations. The Hemples' lively antics will keep readers in stitches as they follow the narrator's trials in dealing with her unusual family. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)