The Problim Children

Book review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
The Problim Children Book Poster Image
Misfit siblings feud with neighbor in fun but chaotic romp.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Frida's descriptions of situations use poetic techniques like rhyme and rhythm.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

Peril of falling, being poisoned, or otherwise maimed. Adults threaten siblings that they will be taken away from their family.

Language

Fart, farts, farting. All manner of flatulence as a theme.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4, 7, and 11 year old Written byMrsAshley09 July 15, 2018

Amazing!

The book is very heartwarming, like about family and love, but also some sarcasm, some tense moments, and it's funny. It's a great mixture of everythi... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In THE PROBLIM CHILDREN, seven siblings are flung into adventure when their house mysteriously "kabooms." Each of the seven kids, from flatulent toddler "Toot" to responsible, sunny Sundae Problim, is named after a day of the week. And each kid has some magical talent. Sal (named after Saturday), for example, can grow plants that cling to people's ankles. Mona (Monday) is "fair of face" but prone to trickery. Wendell (Wednesday) is good with water, and Frida (Friday) speaks in poems. But Thea (Thursday) is trying to figure out her purpose and awkwardly crafts a path separate from her twin, Wendell. All of their lives change dramatically when they have to leave their swampy home and become part of the town that's cast their family out. 

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the kids in The Problim Children compare to misfits and weirdos in TV shows and movies. What makes them outsiders? Is it because they have different interests than other kids? Or are their family values different than those of "normal" families? Who decides what "normal" is? 

  • Thea talks about how life gets turned upside down in an uncomfortable way when you're 13 years old. Is 13 always awkward? Or have you read books where saying good-bye to childhood turned out well?

  • The Problim kids are unchaperoned and home-schooled. How do they manage it? What do they gain by not having to go to school? What are they missing?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love adventure

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate