cover image One-Third Nerd

One-Third Nerd

Gennifer Choldenko, illus. by Églantine Ceulemans. Random/Lamb, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1888-6

Fifth grader Liam lives in a basement apartment with his mom, his two younger sisters (promising third grade scientist/resident nerd Dakota and second grade expert hugger Izzy), and their accident-prone German shepherd, Cupcake. Cupcake’s bathroom issues push their cranky upstairs neighbor and landlord, Mr. Torpse (also known as Torpse the Corpse), to an ultimatum: either Cupcake goes or the whole family must. Though their divorced mother and father implore the siblings to accept that Cupcake must be rehomed, the kids carry out schemes to keep the dog. Black-and-white spot illustrations by Ceulemans faithfully depict the unique personalities of Liam’s siblings and friends, including new kid Moses, whom Liam desperately wants to impress. Choldenko (the Al Capone at Alcatraz series) subtly emphasizes Liam’s stress about being the responsible, oldest sibling; his parents’ divorce; and insecurity about the family’s modest lifestyle. It is Liam’s quiet thoughtfulness and relationship with his sisters, especially his interest in their lives—Izzy’s Down syndrome social group “the Forty-Sevens” and Dakota’s impulsive experiments—that let him shine just as bright as his two extroverted sisters. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Hannah Whitty, Plum Pudding Illustration. [em](Jan.) [/em]