written and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
2015 (Albert Whitman)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
She sings aloud on the bus, talks to her imaginary friend, and remembers things- lots of things.
Janine is a unique kid. She listens to the beat of her own quirky drummer, but like most kids she wants to be included too. When she overhears of a party planned by one of the popular kids in her class, Janine asks if she can come. When the snooty reply from the hostess is "It's only for cool kids!", Janine explains how she is cool. She has her own fashion flair, hangs out with the kids that may not be popular and even has her own cheer. The hostess is so incensed by Janine's cheerfulness that she yells at her and tells her that she must change if she wants to be part of her crowd. Janine decides that she is pretty cool as is and will have her own party and invite everyone. What follows is a positive turn of events for our heroine.
Janine is a book that will encourage kids to have their own style. She has a fierceness in her independence that is quite admirable. The plot is pretty straightforward, but frankly kids in k-2 aren't screaming for nuance. They will like that the antagonist gets a comeuppance and is taught a lesson in humility. The book could lead to discussions about how everyone in a classroom should be friends regardless of popularity or abilities in certain areas and how we all need to be aware of bullying. Janine is a plucky young lady who will engage primary age readers.
Check out Janine's Party on Blogspot.