Sam Ricks, Illustrator
Putnam/Penguin, January 20 122 pages
Our faithful narrator begins the book by introducing Iggy, who has impulse control issues, by dangling a carrot. There are three types of things we wish we hadn't done. The types are described and then noted that Iggie has done them all within the pages of this book. Readers are now treated to the hilarious situations in which Iggy finds himself doing the before mentioned things, seemingly without remorse. The first involves luring a scarf-wearing family friend to jump off the roof of the shed. The second is a bathroom incident containing Mom's makeup and Dad's shaving cream. The third-and most serious-is an ill-advised desk race with his buddies with unforeseen results, leaving both Iggy and his teacher devastated. Apologies are made, lessons are learned, and another carrot is dangled, encouraging readers to check out Iggy's second adventure, set to be released in the spring of 2020.
Barrows has plenty of experience encouraging the new chapter crowd to read through her wildly popular Ivy and Bean series. Now Barrows introduces a lovable and painfully human boy named Iggy, who is sure to appeal to reluctant male readers. The book starts with a bang and the hilarity keeps rolling, encouraging kids to turn pages to see what hijinks Iggy will encounter next. Barrows sticks to a linear plot, as to not confusing emerging readers and is not afraid to get a bit serious at the end of the book. Truly, Iggy means well, yet finds himself in trouble. The trouble has repercussions and Iggy takes his punishment on the chin and makes restitution as appropriate. Some kids will relate to Iggy, some will live through him, yet all will fall in love with him. The comic illustrations are generous, well drawn, and perfect for the target audience. Although the book is a natural fit for reluctant boys, girls will also enjoy this new series. Even this fifty year old found herself laughing out-loud in the library staff room as I read this story during lunch. The lesson Barrows leaves us with is that we may mess up in life, but if we say "sorry" and try to make it better, it will not be the end of the world. Readers are congratulated at the end of the book for making it through, further encouraging them to continue on with the series. A welcome new hero who will appeal to fans of Stink and Horrible Harry.