Get ready for another rollicking reading ride -- when you can't tell if the tears you suddenly find on your cheeks are from laughing or from crying. Dorcas Smucker once again writes so vividly about life with her six kids that you'll be convinced you have a place at their table, your own seat in their van, a list of chores with your name at the top, and a small hankering for trouble -- just like one of the family. She and her kids are innocently funny and usually well-meaning, trying hard to manage all their energy and their peculiar points of view. Jenny asks questions endlessly like, "What's inside your lips?" Matt has serial obsessions -- animals to astronomy. Ben drops caterpillars down the gaps in the porch floor and has a 12-year collection of scars. Emily moves effortlessly from being a whirling Queen of the Smuckers to posing as a pompous science lecturer. Amy phones home to report that, "New York City is not dangerous," and "We girls walk outside at night." And 9-year-old Steven from Kenya joins the family, soon demonstrating the same compulsion as his new brothers by throwing balls in the living room. What makes this collection a stand-out is Dorcas' "Mother voice." With each new development, she's clear about the outcome she's hoping for, less certain about how she'll accomplish it, willing to confess the way things unfold. Dorcas Smucker, writer and mom, is bravely honest and hilariously humble. She never fails to give courage to any parent who reads these joyride chapters, while relentlessly entertaining.
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