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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Do you frequently get distracted and end up doing something other than what you should be doing? Then you forget what you were supposed to do? And you end up on another tangent and the day just keeps on getting more and more complicated and disorganized? That’s Riley’s problem. She’s a very energetic, creative young lady and wants to be busy at all times, only her busy-ness is what leads her away from the tasks she should be doing. So, on her first day of school, when she should be organized with her clothes ready and everything where it should be, she becomes distracted yet again and ends up wearing one shoe, one boot, mismatched socks, and an ugly top. Her friends comment on her wardrobe and she’s feeling rather uncomfortable about her choice of clothes. So, when her new teacher hands all the students a list of things they must do and check off the things as they’ve done them, Riley at first ignores the list and wanders around the classroom, looking at books, drawing a picture, anything and everything except what she should be doing. At some point, she addresses the list and is amazed at how organizational methods help her get her jobs done when they should be done and she feels good about herself and her accomplishments. This list-thing is a new superpower, one that she is going to put to good use.
June Akers's early chapter book, Riley Madison Discovers the Superpower of a List, is a clever way to introduce young readers to a better way to organize their time. Being super organized doesn’t come easily for everyone; it certainly isn’t easy for Riley. But the teacher’s insistence on following a list and reaching a goal, which is the best reward, teaches Riley a valuable lesson in how to organize one’s time and still have fun. The plot develops with a lot of humor as Riley does some amazingly silly things. Her brain is obviously over-active; she’s definitely a high achiever. Only, she doesn’t know where to draw the line and she wants desperately to do everything all at once. Enter the teacher’s solution: the list. And, quite remarkably, Riley has a new superpower. This is a fun way to help overactive, high achievers organize their lives. After all, no one wants to be embarrassed by something as simple as a mismatched wardrobe like Riley wore on her first day to school.