Title: Just One Thing
Author: N. Viau
Drawings by: Timothy Young
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, 2016
Themes: Bullying, learning to love oneself, not giving up, friendship
The themes of learning to love yourself, friendship and acceptance are woven into Ant’s pursuit of finding the one thing that will set him apart, and every chapter is peppered with giggle-worthy moments for tweens.
Anthony Pantaloni, known to most as Ant, has spent two years surviving under a cloud of doom. . .until he hits the fifth grade. Confronted with a new nick-name ‘Antsy Pantsy’, Ant struggles to find his identity and unique place among his peers. He’s also dealing with while dealing with an annoying older female cousin who comes to live with him and his dad for a while, his father’s new romance and a a Mom who is geographically and emotionally distant through the novel.Ant is an average kid facing typical problems most of which aren’t his own fault. Family challenges, school annoyance and his constant inability to find the thing he is really good out all played out in funny and authentic scenes make for an easy, warm and hopeful read for any 3rd to 5th grader. Kid and adult readers will relate to trying new things and realizing after one or two sessions, they aren’t for us, or how easily we misjudge people. Anthony tries swimming and several other activities. He’s struggling to read and ends up getting glasses. His father starts dating his cousin’s drama teacher, who ends up being his substitute teacher. In the end, Anthony draws the winning sketch for the new school mascot, and the praise he receives confirms his artisitic gift, his one thing, as well as giving him hope that he make find his place and make friends when he move sup to middle school.
Childlike sketches decorate every few pages, illustrating what Ant is doodling himself. They are fun and cool and very typical of a 10 year old boy! Also, I love the addition every few chapters of a blank page and an invitation to the reader to add her/his own sketches.
The short length of 144 pages and illustrations make this an appealing read to reluctant and enthusiastic readers.