#934 – It’s Just So . . . by Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco DEBUT

#934 – It’s Just So . . . by Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco DEBUT

itsjustsocover It’s Just So . . .
Written by Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco
Illustrated by Peter Trimarco
Notable Kids Publishing  12/15/2015
44 pages     Ages 4—8

“It’s Lizzy’s first day of school in a brand new school! At first things feel “just so” scary and “just so” hard, but in the end, they’re “just so” . . . not what she thought they would be! From waking up early and boarding the bus for the very first time to meeting new friends and painting outside the lines, it’s a day of discovery and perspective for a little girl named Lizzy.

“It’s Just So . . . a book that grows with your kids! Very young children will love exploring the pictures and listening to the lilting cadence of the rhyming scheme. As your children advance, they will gobble up the luscious vocabulary and enjoy making up yummy words of their own.” [inside jacket]

It’s Just So . . . is about Lizzy’s first day at a new school—unnecessarily—beginning with Lizzy waking up and realizing she is hungry—but does not eat. She scours her closet for something fashionable to wear, and then hops on the school bus. Once there, Lizzy stands outside the building and stares at her new school with awe,

“In front of the school, stood Lizzy in awe.
A building of humongous size she saw.
Inside there were teachers, books, pencils, and fears.
She thought to run home as she fought back the tears.”

Whom is this “fear inside?” Maybe a better word to rhyme with “tears”  would salvage this clunky last line.

IJS_ Fashion spreadLizzy’s class reads classic books (Dick, Jane and Spot; Make Way for Ducklings; Sir Lancelot) and Lizzy studies math “using fingers and toes,” but then Lizzy enters science class (split atoms, beakers, test tubes, stars, and slime). What age is Lizzy supposed to be? Is she a kindergarten or first grader learning to read and learn do beginner math, or in college and splitting atoms? It is one thing to ask a reader to suspend logic, it is quite another to ask readers to ignore it altogether. These stretches of age and abilities do not work.

Each spread has a 4-line verse, which generally rhyme nicely. Then a new line appears at the bottom beginning with the phrase “It’s just so . . .” and paired with most often made-up, excessively long words, in off-changing fonts. These make it difficult to read and, while a repetitive phrase works well with kids, this time it clutters the story.

“It’s just so . . . fizz-astro-fantastical.” (science class)
“It’s just so . . . crunch-muncha-licious.” (lunch)
“It’s just so . . . fantastical explorational science-sational colorific animalogical” (at dinner, without proper use of commas)

This is supposed to be a first-day-of-school picture book, typically aimed at age four to eight. Those words will confuse children learning to read. It is difficult to do what Dr. Seuss did so well.

IJS_Dinner spreadLizzy goes through her day while we look on. She does not face a conflict or a concern, let alone solve it. As a concept book there is much too much going on, which takes away from the cleverness of this concept. Parents want a good story their kids can relate to, and kids like putting themselves in the story. I think kids might be confused as to what their role could be in this story. Sometimes you must cut pieces out, even when it hurts, to make the book and the story better. Sometime less really is more.

This debut contains some very nice illustrations. It is obvious a lot of work went into this book. The beginning of the story (Lizzy waking up and dressing are not needed. We know she does this. The same for the repetitive scenes at home. When the school bus rides away, that is the best ending.

IJS_Science page spreadIt’s Just So . . . tries to be everything for every age, and simply does not work. The cleverness of the two creators overwhelms what they are trying to create, while forgetting their audience. I do love the twist at the end and the illustrations are bright and nicely created to grab your attention. What hurts this story the most are the “It’s just so . . . (insert odd word choice here) repetitions.

There is no doubt Fraatz and Trimarco are creative, they just tried to put too much into one book instead of editing it for story and cohesiveness. The final spread is the best in the story. If the story would have grown from that one image, this picture book may have been one of the best debuts this year.

It’s Just So . . . is Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco’s debut children’s book.

IT’S JUST SO . . . Text copyright © 2015 by Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Peter Trimarco. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Notable Kids Publishing, Parker, CO.

AmazonNotable Kids

Find It’s Just So . . . on Goodreads HERE.

Brenda Faatz:  http://www.brendafaatz.com/
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Peter Trimarco:
Follow on Twitter          @petertrimarco3

Notable Kids Publishing: http://www.notablekidspublishing.com
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Reprinted with permission from IT’S JUST SO . . . © 2016 by Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco, Notable Kids Publishing, Illustrations © 2016 by Peter Trimarco.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

It’s Just So . . .
by Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco
Notable Kids Publishing 12/15/2015


2 thoughts on “#934 – It’s Just So . . . by Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco DEBUT

  1. Sometimes, “it’s just so” difficult to be everything to everybody! The beginning reminds me of my ebook What If I Don’t. My little girl doesn’t want to go to school, but when she does make it to her first day, she has so much fun she doesn’t want to come home!


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