Review sponsored by Carole P. Roman
The Children’s Book Review | May 8, 2017
Written by Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by Mateya Arkova
Age Range: 7-10
Paperback: 34 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
What to expect: Chapter Book, Problem Solving, Family, School Life
Oh Susannah: It’s in the bag is an early reader fiction novel that introduces the reader to young Susannah, who isn’t having a good day. From the moment Susannah wakes up and goes downstairs for breakfast, she can tell, based on her mom’s facial expressions and on the fact that she hasn’t finished her math homework, that it isn’t going to be a great day.
As Susannah’s day progresses, each encounter that she has adds to her burden – her unfinished homework, her uneaten banana, her friend’s unwanted invitation, and her surprise math test. She finds a place for each new trouble in her backpack, which becomes both the physical and emotional repository for the miserable, incomplete, and disappointing parts of her day. Each new problem adds to the weight of her bag, causing it to quite literally burst at the seams.
Carole P. Roman creates a likeable character in Susannah, whose “blonde hair curled too much to make her happy.” Susannah is acutely aware of her parent’s daily tensions, from cooking breakfast to making her lunch for school, to meeting all of their commitments with their jobs. The concept of time is folded in throughout the book, with Susannah paying particular attention to how it impacts each part of her day:
“It was as if their whole life revolved around that big clock. Its ornate oversized hands dictated whether breakfast would be rushed or whether dinner would be meatloaf with a mountain of mashed potatoes or a quick pizza from Phil’s.”
Ultimately, the story sends a relatable message of family love and understanding from dedicated parents who recognize that life is hard for all of them, that time is fleeting, and that tackling problems together is the best approach.
For young readers who feel the pressure of school and life weighing on them, this story will provide a realistic perspective and a lovely reminder of how to take a step back and breathe. It will also serve as a reminder to parents to re-engage with their children and reflect on their many responsibilities. This relatable story will appeal to readers young and old who enjoy being reminded that although work can pile up and become overwhelming, there are always ways to sort through the piles that have built up in the bag.
About the Author
Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard-An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life and Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis has been named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2015. Each book in the series has won numerous awards including the NABE Pinnacle Award, ERIK Award for 2013, ForeWord Review Five Star and Finalist in the Book of the Year, and Reader’s Views Children’s Book of the Year 2013. Roman is also the author of the award-winning non-fiction culture series, If You Were Me and Lived in… that explores customs and cultures around the world. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. The author of “Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag,” by Carole P. Roman, paid for this non-biased review. Learn more about getting a book review …
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