A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Frida's descriptions of situations use poetic techniques like rhyme and rhythm.
Family comes first. Be yourself and you will find the right people to love you in the right way. Other people's opinions don't need to ruin your day. Creativity is available always.
Positive Role Models
The Problim kids work together to face adversity. They use their quirks to their advantage, and they face their fears, encouraging their friends to do the same. They are unabashedly weird, but they don't try to change to please others.
Violence & Scariness
Peril of falling, being poisoned, or otherwise maimed. Adults threaten siblings that they will be taken away from their family.
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Fart, farts, farting. All manner of flatulence as a theme.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Problim Children, by Natalie Lloyd (A Snicker of Magic), is a good-natured tale about oddball siblings who lose their home in an explosion and need to find housing while waiting for their parents to return from an archeological adventure. The Problim kids are creepy in an Addams Family kind of way, each possessing traits associated with their days-of-the week names. They play with spiders, experiment with plants, make fog, and pursue legends while they dodge the dangerous neighbor who wants them sent away to "seven different continents." This is the first book in a planned trilogy.
Is It Any Good?
This charming, clever romp is chaotic and fun but not as well-crafted as it could have been. Solutions to problems pop up out of nowhere in The Problim Children (one of the kids finds a deed to a house in a box -- exactly when they need a house), and assumptions are made (like, everybody in the book knows what a "circus spider" is, but the reader has to figure it out ). The characters are adorable, but only Thea's and Wendell's feelings are fleshed out, and the character point of view shifts constantly, lending the story a disorganized feel. Solutions to problems come too quickly at times, or not at all.
And yet, there are moments of beauty -- like the way the sunsets and forests are described. The landscape feels real. The kinship among the Problims is sweet and believable. And it's a fun read. Though the ending arrives without warning, there's enough intrigue in the plot to keep the reader wanting more. For those who are charmed by the Problims, there will be two more books in the planned trilogy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.