Callie and the Stepmother by Susan A. Meyers

 

ChildrenCallie and the Stepmother Callie and the StepmotherSusan A. Meyers; Blooming Tree Press 2005WorldCatReview by Molly

Callie and the Stepmother opens as Callie is hugging her dad goodbye. Dad drives a truck, and Callie must stay home with her new stepmother Pam. Everyone knows stepmothers are evil and do bad things when your dad is away. To make matters even worse Callie also has a new fourteen-year-old stepsister. To make matters even worse Andrea doesn’t like Callie and doesn’t want to share her room with Callie. Callie knows it is going to be a long two days before dad returns.

First, Callie has a horrible nightmare, then she had to explain why she moved Andrea’s shampoo, then she is surprised to learn that her step brother and step sister have chores and no one expects Callie to do all the work. Callie is not sure what is going on, everyone knows that the step child has to do all the work. Callie has another nightmare, when she starts to feel sick Callie wonders if her nightmare might be coming true, after all everyone knows the evil step mother fixes poison fruit for the step child to eat. A trip to the store helps Callie understand that her new stepmother really is not an evil stepmother.

Callie and the Stepmother is writer Meyers’ first children’s chapter book. The work is an outgrowth of the writers’ bedtime stories she made up for her son when he was younger. The book offers a list of illustrations, table of contents and chapters meant to be enjoyed by middle grade readers. The tale will lend itself to use as a ‘read to’ for the younger set, while vocabulary used is within the reading scope of most 9 – 12 year olds. Illustrations provided by artist Rose Gauss set the written word off to perfection.

Writer Meyers has taken a sensitive issue, one common to many children today, incorporated children’s misunderstanding and produced a credible work sure to aid ‘blended’ families as well as providing listening and reading pleasure to children ages 5-12. The misconception children often harbor regarding what is real and what is storybook is often blurred at best. Meyers’ Callie and the Stepmother takes those misconceptions, adds a likeable little girl Callie, a patient stepmother and a typical older step sibling and manages to meld them all into an interesting, entertaining, readable work.

This is an excellent resource reading suggestion for the child therapists shelf, the home pleasure reading library, the blended home library, home school and classroom reading corner. This is a book I would use in my own classroom for a unit on family, understanding and working through fear and misunderstand.

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