Monday, January 2, 2017

Review: Just One Thing by Nancy Viau

by Nancy Viau
Illustrated by Timothy Young
Schiffer Publishing
Middle Grade Contemporary
ages 8 to 12
144 pages

Every child about to enter middle school will be able to relate to this heart-warming, funny story. Anthony Pantaloni needs to figure out one thing he does well one thing that will replace the Antsy Pants nickname he got tagged with on the first day of fifth grade, one good thing he can own before moving up to middle school next year. It seems that every kid at Carpenter Elementary has a claim to fame: Marcus is Mr. Athletic, Alexis is Smart Aleck, Bethany has her horse obsession, and even Cory is known as the toughest kid in the school. Ant tries lots of things, but nothing sticks! It doesn t help that there are obstacles along the way a baton-twirling teacher, an annoying cousin, and Dad's new girlfriend, to name a few. Just One Thing! is chock full of hilarious adventures that will keep young readers cheering until the very end. For ages 8 to 12.


With tons of humor and lots of heart, this story jabs into the core of middle grade insanity and the question of whether or not a kid can ever make it out with even a little bit of self-esteem intact.

Ant, otherwise known as Anthoni Pantaloni, has managed to maneuver his way from being stuck underneath a dark cloud. . .until he hits the fifth grade. Thrust into the new nick-name 'Antsy Pantsy', Ant struggles to find his identity while dealing with a frustrating cousin, his father's new romance and a mom who appears to be fading out of existence in some far away place named Paris, France.

This book had me and my son smiling and giggling the entire way through. Ant is an average boy stuck in an unfortunate situation, but not one that surpasses reality. His problems are fairly normal, but mount from one moment to the next. Most of it isn't his fault but still, he has to deal with the fall out. It's easy to feel for him and understand the problems he's going through. Although many situations are giggle worthy, the meaning and reality behind them still hit home. Life isn't easy and problems aren't always simple to solve. Still, there's a lovely dosage of hope and the encouragement that help sometimes comes from the most unexpected places. It's these moments which bring forth those fuzzy warm feelings and make it a read to enjoy.

One of the best things about this book are the illustrations/doodles. Simple sketches decorate every few pages, illustrating what Ant is doodling himself. They're funny and chucked full of imagination. As an extra bonus, there's a blank page at the end of some of the chapters, which invites kids to leave their own doodles.

The messages in this book are clear (learning to love yourself, friendship, understanding, never giving up, etc) but they are weaved masterfully into the story insuring that they never feel preachy.

Summed up, this is a fun read for kids ages 8 to 12 with tons of good things. The illustrations and invitation to add own doodles catches the attention and draws in. And the short length of 144 pages is just right to catch the eye of reluctant readers too.

And here she is. . .

Nancy Viau is the author of City Street Beat (Albert Whitman & Co.), Storm Song (Two Lions/Scholastic), Look What I Can Do! (Abrams Books), Just One Thing! (Schiffer Publishing) and Samantha Hansen Has Rocks In Her Head (Amulet Books). Her stories, poems, and activities appear in Highlights, Ladybug, and many other magazines. She is a member of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the founder of The KidLit Authors Club (, a marketing group consisting of authors who sign, present, and visit bookstores, libraries, festivals, and conferences together.

You can find more about her. . .

All about. . .

Timothy Young has worked as an animator, sculptor, toy designer, graphic designer, puppet maker & art director. He is very pleased to have fulfilled a childhood dream to write and illustrate his own picture books.

You can find out more about him. . .

1 comment:

cleemckenzie said...

His nickname alone made me chuckle. I love a book that can make me laugh out loud.