FOREWARD REVIEWS Clarion Rating - 5 STARS
Perfect for children in transitional stages, Lizzy’s story of adapting to a new school is charming and hopeful.
Vibrant illustrations and an engaging main character help young readers explore themes of resilience, courage, and perseverance in Brenda Faatz’s It’s Just So …
Lizzy is a bit nervous about her first day at a new school. After all, it’s just so … overwhelming. Lizzy wonders if she’ll make friends, and the big new school building is a little scary. It’s Just So … follows Lizzy throughout the whole day, from the moment she wakes up, through the bus ride and a lonely lunch, to her building excitement as she comes to realize that the new school may, in fact, be a lot of fun after all.
Lizzy’s transition from nervousness to happiness is helped along with the “it’s just so” catchphrase. In the beginning, everything is “just so” scary or tall or big. As Lizzy becomes more comfortable through her first day, her growing enthusiasm leads to playful, creative new wording, such as “it’s just so … mathemagical” and “it’s just so … fizz-astro-fantastical.” The silly words and rhyming text make it an especially fun book for reading aloud.
The colorful, vivid illustrations are detailed and sure to delight young readers. The changing fonts and text sizes and the varied colors work well with the corresponding illustrations and story narrative. Lizzy’s different moods and feelings, from nervousness and loneliness to excitement and contentment, are effectively captured in the drawings, and the renderings of her classes and activities are meticulous and vibrant.
Though a few of the rhymes are a bit overworked, the rhyming text flows smoothly for the most part, and the cleverly playful typography (for instance, the words “outside the lines” are set in a wavy style, bringing the actual text outside the line) makes reading even more fun.
The narrative maintains a positive tone, and Lizzy’s enthusiasm is contagious. Good lessons on overcoming fears and staying positive are illustrated through her character. Despite her nervousness, Lizzy remains hopeful throughout her day, and her choice to actively participate in drawing, music, and other subjects soon helps her to overcome her concerns and end her day happily and successfully.
It’s Just So … will be particularly helpful for children experiencing a transitional stage, such as entering a new school or home, and the combination of creative art, amusing rhymes, and a delightful main character is engaging and especially entertaining for reading out loud. – Reviewer: Jeannine Chartier Hanscom
READERS FAVORITE - 5 STARS
In It’s Just So..., a children’s book by Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco, there is quite a whole lot going on. Children’s books are almost defined by the near necessity to coordinate a pleasing complement of both words and pictures, but rarely do the creators see fit to multi-layer such a project in anticipation of the reader “growing older.” In other words, to make their work speak differently to children of different ages. Such a challenge would seem a wee bit risky, but success is often its own reward.
Lizzy is a somewhat addle-pated little redhead girl with her own version of the ubiquitous children’s book dog companion (you know, the sidekick who quietly steals the show), who is set to embark on the NEXT BIG ADVENTURE – her very first day at a brand new school. Since Lizzy is as impressionable as any young girl can be, everything (I mean EVERYTHING) strikes her as just so ... It’s Just So... by Brenda Faatz and Peter Trimarco is successful on every level. Lizzy is immediately engaging, as she is just so ... IMPRESSED by everything – a trait shared by many girls her age (and older). You can hear her speaking in your head: “It’s just so ...” And you smile. And though the dog is rather unimpressed, the reader watches Lizzy move quickly from intimidation to acceptance to confidence to utter fearlessness and leadership as she develops a vocabulary beyond her years, and beyond the confines of any stodgy old dictionary. But perhaps the most successful aspect of this endearing book lies in its message: a change in attitude can make any new experience fun. Lizzy is a wonderful role model for children to emulate as she allows her trepidations to slide under the waves of a new perspective. By opening herself to the FANTASTICAL, not to mention the SCIENCE-SATIONAL, any new experience can become, quite simply, magical, like this wonderfully illustrated, wonderfully worded, wonderfully messaged book, which is just so .. – Reviewed By Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers’ Favorite
A rhyming, read-aloud debut children’s book that tracks the mercurial adventures of a young girl during her first day at a new school. Lizzy is prone to extreme emotions and flights of fancy in this richly illustrated tale. She begins the day scared at the thought of a brand-new school and is a bit intimidated as she boards the bus: “It’s just so…tall.” Although the school is “so big” and the books are “so wordy,” Lizzy quickly takes over the class by jumping on the desk “… acting out stories— / what crazy good fun!” From then on, Lizzy’s day becomes increasingly outrageous. Learning numbers is “just so...mathemagical,” science is “just so...fizz-astro-fantastical,” learning about animals is “just so...wombatty,” … and at bedtime something “fantastical” happens when animals from her day, including a bunny, turtle, and a dog, crawl into her bedroom to snuggle. – Kirkus Reviews
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
With "It's Just So..." featuring a combination of Brenda Faatz's thoroughly engaging and charming story and the colorfully comedic artwork of Peter Trimarco, the result is a thoroughly entertaining read for children ages 4 to 8, and a highly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. – MBR