The Sorry Life of Timothy Shmoe – written by Stephanie Simpson McLellan, illustrated by Zoe Si

The Sorry Life of Timothy Shmoe – written by Stephanie Simpson McLellan, illustrated by Zoe Si, Owlkids Books, 9781771473934, 2021

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book? This humorous story is one that both children and adults will enjoy together; it is told mostly through letters. Timothy makes many mistakes, and then needs to write an apology letter to the person he hurt. The illustration and his letter pair well to give the reader the context for the full situation. Each of his letters includes a slight excuse or reason for his mistake, and many include a snarky comment about what he learned – all in perfect kid-language. (“Now I know that when you scream like that, it means you are scared and not excited.”) Despite his parents’ frustration at his behavior, it is clear they love and accept him for who he is. The crisp and colorful illustrations include exaggerated facial expressions and movement lines to add to the humor of the story. 

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? I would give this to kids who at times misbehave and make mistakes, or who like funny books. It could also be used to practice writing letters or apologizing. Read-alike with Dear Teacher (Husband) or I Wanna Iguana (Orloff). 

Who should buy this book? Elementary school librarians, public librarians, families

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Date of review: July 15, 2021

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