The Terrible Time Without Tilly

illus. by Kimberly Scott. 48p. (Red Bananas Series). Trafalgar Square. May 2014. Tr $5.99. ISBN 9781405260800.
K-Gr 2—In this silly and adventurous offering for newly independent readers, Tilly spends so much time helping her family (bathing the dog, making dinner, looking after her little brother) that she has no time left to clean her messy room. When her family insists that she tidy up, Tilly leaves them to survive without her. As she visits a string of relatives in increasingly quirky residences, she happily helps each one: tackling a spider infestation at Granny's perfectly pink house, cooking curry for Uncle Kevin at his castle, and taming her wild Rough Lot cousins. In each new place, Tilly quickly tires of the demands made upon her and moves on to the next. When she joins Great Uncle Max in his hot-air balloon, she finds herself bombarded with messages from her family begging her to come back. Without her, the dog is filthy, the curry recipe is lost, the house is full of spiders, her brother is misbehaving, and no one can manage at all. After borrowing a parachute from Great Uncle Max, Tilly returns home, where she is assured that she has many more important things to do than clean her room. Tilly's adventure is sure to strike a chord with kids who feel overburdened with chores or underappreciated for the ways they help at home, and Scott's lighthearted and colorful cartoon illustrations add to the fun. Ultimately, however, this transitional early reader is amusing but not essential.—McKinley Elementary School, Abington School District, PA

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