Stepping stones

Lucy Knisley

Book - 2020

"Jen moves out to the country and has to put up with her mom and her mom's new boyfriend, as well as his kids. Suddenly part of a larger family in a new place, Jen isn't sure there is a place for her in this different world."--

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jGRAPHIC NOVEL/Knisley Due Aug 23, 2022
New York : RH Graphic [2020]
First edition
Physical Description
203 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 21 cm
Ages 8-12
Grades 4-6
Main Author
Lucy Knisley (author)
Other Authors
Whitney Cogar (colorist)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Isn't starting sixth grade in a new school where you don't know anyone hard enough without everyone around you pairing off into romantic relationships? It's autumn on Peapod Farm, and Jen's stepsister Andy's crush on their neighbor's nephew is making everything—from planning an eerie Halloween hayride to visiting the county fair—more complicated. Why does having a boyfriend mean friendships have to change? This follow-up to Stepping Stones (2020) makes great use of Knisley's experience writing memoirs: the anger and hurt feelings of tweens being interpreted as drama by adults, the insecurity of suddenly being less a friend and more a third wheel, and the jolt of euphoria when you find a kindred spirit are all skillfully depicted in the dialogue and the art, where just a slight change in facial features adds layers to the story. Everyone who remembers what it was like to be a middle-schooler—and certainly tweens themselves—are likely to find something to identify with. Fingers crossed for more seasons spent at Peapod Farm. Grades 3-6. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–7—City girl Jen is overwhelmed. Following her parents' divorce, her mother uproots them to the country to live on a small farm. Instead of visiting comic book shops and eating Chinese food, Jen is struggling to make change at the family farm stand, taking care of the chickens, and learning to live with her mom's bossy, know-it-all boyfriend, Walter, and his daughters, Andy and Reese. Everyone in Jen's new household seems confident and perfect, especially Andy, who somehow outshines Jen at every turn. Inspired by the author's own childhood, Knisley's first middle grade graphic novel soars. She perceptively portrays the highs and lows of being a preteen, from the frustration of living with the fallout of adults' decisions to the joy of building new families. Her young characters are effectively and sympathetically depicted; all have individual talents and personalities and learn to work together despite their differences. However, the adults, particularly Walter, remain clueless and insensitive—an issue that will hopefully be addressed in future volumes (this title is the first of three interconnected books). The art is lively and colorful with beautifully detailed backgrounds. Jen frequently expresses her angst through charming, stick-figure artwork, which, along with Knisley's spot-on facial expressions, emphasizes the drama of blended family. VERDICT This candid, heartwarming look at a child grappling with major changes will resonate with fans of Raina Telgemeier and Svetlana Chmakova and anyone trying to find their place.—Kelley Gile, Cheshire Public Library, CT Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 3–7—Jen's life is split between the environments of her mom's farm and her dad's residence in the city. Mom and her boyfriend have an outdoorsy lifestyle full of chores and hands-on learning. Dad's life in the city is more about experiences and consumption (and the local bodega cat). Wherever she is, Jen leans on her dual loves of dragon fiction and illustration, especially now that her stepsister Andy has fallen for the new neighbor, Eddie. Between getting teased at a new school for her tastes and enduring all the couples around her at home, Jen struggles to belong. Knisley's use of facial expressions and juxtaposition expertly signals tween characters' unspoken feelings during awkward interactions. The story is packed with empathy for each character's point of view. Readers will also pick up details about farming mushrooms, as well as making apple cider and apple cider donuts. VERDICT Readers looking for budding romance (or avoiding it altogether) will find characters to cheer in this autumn-themed follow-up that's fine for new readers. Copyright 2022 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Reluctantly joining a newly blended family involving a stepfather and stepsisters on a farm far from her city home, Jen practices new skills and navigates private insecurities before finding acceptance in unexpected places. A first children’s graphic novel by the award-winning creator of Relish. Simultaneous. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

This contemporary middle-grade graphic novel about family and belonging from New York Times bestselling author Lucy Knisley is a perfect read for fans of Awkward and Be Prepared. Jen is used to not getting what she wants. So suddenly moving the country and getting new stepsisters shouldn't be too much of a surprise.Jen did not want to leave the city. She did not want to move to a farm with her mom and her mom's new boyfriend, Walter. She did not want to leave her friends and her dad. Most of all, Jen did not want to get new "sisters," Andy and Reese. As if learning new chores on Peapod Farm wasn't hard enough, having to deal with perfect-at-everything Andy might be the last straw for Jen. Besides cleaning the chicken coop, trying to keep up with the customers at the local farmers' market, and missing her old life, Jen has to deal with her own insecurities about this new family . . . and where she fits in.New York Times bestselling author Lucy Knisley brings to life a story inspired from her own childhood in an amazing journey of unlikely friends, sisters, and home."Funny, sweet, and real." -Jennifer & Matthew Holm, co-creators of the bestselling Babymouse series"This book is gorgeous. Highly recommended." -Kristen Gudsnuk, creator of Making Friends