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Friday, February 12, 2016

Over-Scheduled Andrew, written and illustrated by Ashley Spires. Tundra Books, Random House. 2015. $19.99 ages 5 and up

"Andrew was a natural actor, but even naturals have to practice. His teacher suggested that he work on his public speaking by joining the debate club. As Andrew's voice got stronger, so did his arguments."

There is so much that Andrew wants to, and can, do! His many interests leave him over-extended and overwhelmed at times. He just doesn't know how to put the brakes on his enthusiasm.

His love for theatre has him joining the debate team to improve his diction and public speaking skills. Then, it's ballet and karate. But, that isn't all. What about chess, the French film club ... can there be more? Indeed, there can be.

"Andrew was busy. Three days a week he stayed after school for
one of his clubs.

Afterwards, he went to ballet or karate then home for dinner, homework and bed."

To be fair, the choices made are not at the insistence of Andrew's parents. His teacher suggests the debate club; Calvin suggests chess; his coach asks him to play tennis, Chris needs a school newspaper editor; even Grandma has an idea - the bagpipes.

His friendship with Edie is faltering: he can find no more than fifteen minutes to be with his best friend. It isn't long until his work suffers at almost every turn.

"Andrew's schedule was getting all mixed up in his head.
He danced his way through debate club.

He argued his way through karate.

He honked his way through tennis.

And he backhanded his chess match."

He slept through what he most loved to do, and missed spending time with Edie. I sense a change coming!

Plenty of white space allows readers a clear look at all that Andrew is attempting to accomplish in a day. The digital images give us expressive characters in colorful outfits, appropriate to the activity being pursued. Endpapers show what Andrew's schedule looks like, including sleeping in until 5:30 a.m. on SATURDAY! What the what?!?

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