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JEROME'S JAM

Author: Rainey

Illustrator: Betsy Dill

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Publisher: DreamDog Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Jerome is sad and confused. Mom, Dad, and Jerome make a perfect family. Why does he need a little brother or sister? With some help from Jazz, the DreamDog, Jerome begins to understand that he won't be left behind. In fact, he'll have an even more important place in the family. This is a picture book that helps a child deal with the changing dynamics of a family.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 9

Interest Level: 3 to 8

Age of Child: Started reading with a 3-year-old child.

Young Reader Reaction: Our then-preschooler liked this book. Although there are no brothers and sisters in our house, our child understood the message, and the empathy was clear. Almost two years later s/he will periodically pull this from the shelf.

Adult Reader Reaction: When we first read this, we weren't sure how it would go. For one thing, the story doesn't fit the title. It's not a book that we would pick, but it has helped our child understand feelings like jealousy, fear, confusion, love, and family identity (i.e., that we each have a role). Our child likes this more than we do.

Pros: Although this is MOST useful for families that are growing, families with an only child may find this helpful reading for their own situation. It helps remind children that a parent's love is unconditional ... no matter their mood, no matter what happens.

Cons: None, really. It's just so-so for us. The illustrations push the book over the top visually.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The theme of helping a child deal with a new sibling is helpful, but once the child becomes part of the family, the book loses its power.

If You Liked This Book, Try: ME TOO!   YOU'RE NOT MY REAL MOTHER!   HOPALONG JACK AND THE BLUE BUNNIES

Educational Themes: The story has value as a way of helping a child express his/her feelings about the arrival of a new sibling.

Notes: A portion of the proceeds of this book go to organizations that help underprivileged youth.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, family, adoption, emotions

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2006

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