Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley (Peapod Farm book 1)

Published by Random House

Stepping Stones (Peapod Farm): Knisley, Lucy: 9781984896858 ...

Stepping Stones (Peapod Farm): Knisley, Lucy: 9781984896841 ...

Summary:  Jen’s having a difficult adjustment from city life to country life, compounded by her parents’ divorce and her mom’s new boyfriend Walter.  When Walter’s two daughters start spending weekends on the farm, Jen has more changes to deal with.  Andy is bossy and seems to be better at everything than Jen (or at least to think she is), and Reese is a bit of a whiner, prone to tantrums when things don’t go her way.  Jen’s mom has always wanted to live on a farm, but Jen’s not so sure about it as she helps out at the farmer’s market, takes care of the new chickens, and performs other chores, sometimes with the help of Andy and Reese.  Things aren’t perfect by the end of the story, but the three kids and their parents are beginning to be something resembling a family.  Includes an author’s note about her childhood, which inspired Jen’s stories 224 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  Another fun graphic memoir for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Shannon Hale, and Jennifer Holm.  Kids will relate to Jen’s family issues, and there’s a relatively happy ending that seems to pave the way for a sequel.

Cons:  Walter seems at best insensitive and at worst, verbally abusive.  I hope he gets a chance to redeem himself in book 2, but in the author’s note, Lucy Knisley refers to the real-life Walter as “loud, bossy, and annoying” and “annoying and beloved until his dying day”, so I don’t have a lot of hope.

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