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Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Mary-Ellen O’Keefe’s Word-Speaking Diet

[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]

NeelyMary-Ellen O’Keefe’s Word-Speaking Diet; written by Tom Neely; illustrated by Sharad Kumar. Tom Neely, 2014. 36pp. ISBN 978-1502-44425-7. Paper ed. $9.97.

Mary-Ellen has always been a big talker–at home. But why is she paralyzed into silence at school? Situational shyness is a condition known to most of us, and kids will understand why this gabby little girl seems almost like a different person once she’s in the company of her teacher and classmates. A little pep talk from Mom clears the problem right up, and, while I guess that’s nice for Mary-Anne, it doesn’t make for a plot that’s very satisfying to the rest of us. The tale is told in awkwardly rhyming couplets, many of which seem more content to mark time than move the story forward,  and the illustrations are generic cartoons.   R.S.


[This review may be distributed freely and excerpted fairly; credit to “Read Roger, The Horn Book Inc.,]

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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