cover image My Mother Got Married

My Mother Got Married

Barbara Park, Peter Ed. Ward. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $13 (138pp) ISBN 978-0-394-82149-8

This refreshing book about parents' remarriage picks up where Park's Don't Make Me Smile left off. It is already difficult for Charlie, 11, to accept his parents' divorce, but then his mother starts dating Ben Russo, one of those guys ``you see in commercials walking through the woods swinging an ax and eating acorns and wild berries.'' Ben's wife died five years ago, forcing him to raise their two children alone, but that doesn't mean Charlie ``automatically has to like him.'' When Charlie's mother and Ben marry and the Russos move into Charlie's house, life becomes disastrous. Thomas, five, follows Charlie everywhere; Ben's daughter Lydia monopolizes the bathroom and the phone; Ben doesn't seem to like Charlie; and his mother has no time for him anymore. Charlie's honesty and sensitivity is as hilarious as it is touching; his reflections are unique and his realizations are meaningful. This book is a delight for all readers, but will be especially appreciated by those in Charlie's situation. Ages 9-12. (Apr . )