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Reviewed by Laurie Gray for Readers' Favorite
"What About Me? 12 Ways to Get Your Parents’ Attention (Without Hitting Your Sister)" by Eileen Kennedy-Moore recognizes the need of children to interact with their parents following the birth of a younger sibling. Written in easy-to-read-aloud verse, "What About Me?" offers concrete things kids can do to solicit positive attention from their parents and encourages parents to reinforce those behaviors with a smile, a hug and loving words of acknowledgment. The author recommends that parents read this book to their children aged three through eight several times and then leave it in some place where children can pick it up and look at it again on their own. Mits Katayama’s illustrations rendered in black ink and watercolor depict each of the 12 attention-getters clearly for children unable to read.
The book is designed to help children cope with jealousy and express feeling ignored in peaceful ways. Suggestions include, “Offer to share—even give Sister half. Make silly faces so Baby will laugh.” The text doesn’t rise to the level of poetry, but Dr. Kennedy-Moore does effectively communicate her practical strategies as a clinical psychologist and her affirming approach to both children and parents through the book itself and a “Note to Parents” at the end. Her methods encourage family connection and offer children choices rather than rules. At the same time, parents must notice and reinforce their child’s attempts to gain positive attention. With less than 300 words, this is a book parents and children will love to read together again and again.