cover image Josie to the Rescue

Josie to the Rescue

Marilyn Singer. Scholastic, $14.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-590-76339-4

This chapter book takes the third-person point-of-view of eight-year-old Josie, who, after overhearing her parents' money worries as the birth of a new sibling approaches, decides to help them out. As Josie struggles to be as ""helpful"" as her perfect cousin and rival Mary Jane, her good intentions go awry: she plants dandelion seeds in her mother's flower bed (convinced that their leaves will yield ""lettuce"" for a nutritious salad, she calls them ""lettelion"" seeds), unearths her mother's tulip bulbs, which she mistakes for onions, and her grand scheme to wrangle free diapers backfires. Singer's cast of grade schoolers is upbeat and their banter is lively, but the prevailing humor sticks to well-worn subjects like bathroom tissue and diapers. Josie finds something to laugh about at even her darkest and most embarrassing moments, yet her voice occasionally slips out of character (e.g., describing a classmate, the protagonist comments, ""She was what Josie's mom called a `space cadet' ""). The changing relationship between Josie and her mother is the book's real strength, and their eventual understanding of one another provides the book's tidy, if predictable, conclusion. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)