cover image Just Teenie

Just Teenie

Susan Meddaugh, . . Houghton/Lorraine, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-68565-3

Justine was so tiny, everyone called her just Teenie," opens this fanciful tale. In neatly framed illustrations, Meddaugh (Perfectly Martha ) depicts the disgruntled heroine dwarfed by a chair in her home, and too small for a roller coaster ride at a carnival. At a wish-granting fortune-teller's booth, Teenie announces, "I want to grow." Madame Flora hands Teenie a small plant, which she places on her windowsill. In the morning, Teenie awakens in a tangle of tendrils. When she transplants the wild-looking growth outside, it continues to burgeon ("I'm glad something is growing," Teenie comments wryly). Meddaugh's imagination likewise flourishes: the plant acquires lovely blossoms—as well as an amusing array of objects it has snatched from neighbors, who grow increasingly angry. As an axe-wielding man approaches the plant, one of its vine-like branches sweeps Teenie off the ground and up into its crest. From her sky-high perch, she gains a novel perspective that suits her just fine ("So tiny Teenie towered over the town for the rest of the summer"). Readers will likely be equally charmed by her dandy new lifestyle: meals are delivered by balloon and her eagle-eye view gives her watchman status—she reports a cat stranded in a tree and other missing pets. As the plant overtakes the town, it gradually bursts through Meddaugh's frames and occupies more of the spreads. When the fall comes, Teenie secretly collects three seeds from the withering plant ("She smiled just thinking about next summer"). Readers will smile right along with this resourceful heroine. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)