Edie Is Ever So Helpful

illus. by Sophy Henn. 32p. Philomel. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399548062.
PreS-Gr 1—In the vein of Olivia and Eloise, this clever, tongue-in-cheek story will have audiences laughing aloud. Edie enumerates the many ways in which she "helps out," while the pictures tell an entirely different story. She puts her shoes on (the wrong feet), organizes Mommy's office (by wildly decorating her desk) etc., and finally "helps" by "brightening the place up a bit" (painting on the walls) at which point our narrator says "Sometimes I have to remember NOT to be quite so helpful." Finally, she recalls "exactly how helpful I should be" and gives hugs, reads to her brother, and behaves…mostly. The clever story moves along at a good clip, encouraging page turns and leaving plenty of room for the illustrations to expand the plot. The colorful, naive illustrations are reminiscent of Christian Robinson's, complete with black oval eyes, lots of white space, and a use of bold retro colors. Henn takes advantage of the layout, using spot art to provide movement, visually tell the story, and match Edie's exuberance. There are many small vignettes on stark white backgrounds, but periodically they lead into full-bleed spreads, emphasizing the action. Edie is always clearly visible in her pom-pom hat, black skirt, and mustard-colored top. Despite the simplicity of the faces, Henn manages to portray emotions extremely effectively, with only a few facial lines and body positioning.
VERDICT Sure to be a big hit, this delightful story will be enjoyed one-on-one while also making an excellent read-aloud in storytime.

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