Elem./MG – Oh, Sal

Henkes, Kevin. Oh, Sal. Greenwillow Books, 2022. 978-0-063-24492-4. $16.99. 144 p. Grades 3-6.

Kevin Henkes fans will remember the character of Sal, the little sister in  The Year of Billy Miller and Billy Miller Makes a Wish. Sal can be a  pesky little sister, but she is sweet and funny. She has a big imagination and a penchant for collecting items that are precious to her. In this lovely story about the Miller family, a new baby has arrived on Christmas. Sal is four and is very much feeling abandoned by her parents as they fuss over the infant. A holiday visit from Papa’s brother, Uncle Jake, leaves Sal angry and confused. She doesn’t like that Uncle Jake calls her “Salamander” and the new baby is boring and cries all the time. Sal’s parents have been so busy they haven’t even picked a name for the new baby. As if all of this wasn’t enough to handle, Sal’s favorite new pair of underwear, (from a set adorned with a different flower on each pair) goes missing. It was a gift from Santa and cannot be replaced, yet the grown ups are all too busy to help Sal find them. This amusing story takes place over the course of twenty-four hours and is full of big four-year-old emotions, family situations, and gentle humor.

THOUGHTS: This delightful book is absolutely pitch-perfect. The Miller Family Stories are filled with honest familial circumstances that young children relate to, but are never condescending or preachy. This book can stand on its own, but is a wonderful glimpse into the beloved Miller family from a new perspective. This book is scheduled to be released on September 27, 2022.

Realistic Fiction          Anne McKernan, Council Rock SD