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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's Not Fair, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Harper, 2008. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"Why can't I have
curly locks?
Why can't I have
my own box?
Why now, chicken
It's not fair."

Was there ever 'fairness' in a child's world? I'm sure that you can remember times from your own childhood when things were decidedly 'not fair'! Why doesn't he have to study for the test? Why can she say it's OK for everyone to come to our house on Saturday without asking you first? Why can't we have a TV? Why do we have to come in now? Just get us going and we could write our own book.

That is exactly what this book is likely to do for its intended audience. When they read it they are sure to realize that they are not alone in the world. We all can remember a time when fairness was not the operative word,  and sometimes we even harbor resentment for it. If you are a parent, you have heard the lament on innumerable occasions. If you are a teacher, you might stop counting at 'too many'complaints in one day. If you spend time with kids (big and little), it is going to be part of your daily 'grind'.

It starts with kids and their everyday life...cookies, pets, appearance, bedtime...the list seems endless. Then, Amy Rosenthal moves on to furniture, animals, insects and aliens. Everybody's got a complaint about something...even fairy tale characters and the planets. Can you just imagine the fun of using this book as a catalyst for partner writing?

Now add the comical artwork that Tom Lichtenfeld creates so adeptly and you've got an even more appealing book to share. It's filled with expressive humor, a persistent refrain, and the lilt of rhyming text. 'It's not fair' that Amy Rosenthal had the idea to write about a common and oft heard rant and did something about it, and 'it's not fair' that Tom Lichtenheld has the talent to draw such perfect accompaniments to her sage and humorous text!

It's not fair.

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