Review of Oh, Sal

Oh, Sal
by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author
Primary    Greenwillow    122 pp.    g
9/22    978-0-06-324492-4    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-0-06-324495-5    $10.99

This third, stand-alone installment of the Miller family saga (The Year of Billy Miller, rev. 9/13, and sequel) is told from four-year-old Sal’s point of view. It’s New Year’s Day, and there’s simply too much going on for Sal. She can’t find her favorite pair of underwear; visiting Uncle Jake calls her “Salamander,” a nickname she hates; and the new baby, a week after being born, is no longer exciting or even cute. She’s boring. Even worse, the baby has displaced Sal as “Mama’s favorite.” It’s not going to be easy to be a big sister to the as-yet-unnamed sibling and a little sister to eight-year-old Billy. “It is so hard to be me,” Sal thinks. But if Sal is at times overwhelmed by life’s complications, she is part of a loving family that takes her emotions seriously and includes her in their day-to-day decisions. Sal even ends up contributing the name for the baby, albeit inadvertently. Henkes is a master at probing the mind and heart of a young child, writing with gentle humor and affection. Black-and-white spot art embellishes pages and adds to an already rich character study of young Sal. Readers will hope that as the Miller family members grow, so will the series.

From the September/October 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dean Schneider

Dean Schneider teaches eighth grade English at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.