Gr 2-4-Seven-year-old Lucy van Loon lives in Australia with her parents and brother, and she is pretty sure she's a good girl. Every now and then, something unexpected will happen, though, and Lucy is unable to control her temper. When Tante Bep comes from Holland for an extended visit, she is concerned about the lack of discipline in the household, and Lucy boils over with rage. She becomes nervous when her great aunt tells her about Sinterklaas (the Dutch Santa Claus) and his friend Zwarte Piet, who spirits bad children away to Spain forever. She panics about all of the misunderstandings she has been caught up in and decides to be only "Lucy the Good." When Lucy's dad finds her in the creek, testing to see if she will float like a bad egg or sink like a good one, all of the child's troubles come tumbling out. A tender story for readers who have a hard time controlling their emotions, this easy chapter book hints at ways for kids to manage their feelings, and the satisfactory conclusion will be reassuring. Orsini's artwork complements the well-paced story and gives visual representation to some of the Dutch items.-Alison Donnelly, Collinsville Memorial Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
As she did in The Worry Tree, Musgrove introduces a sympathetic heroine with whom many readers will identify. Lucy wants to be good, but her impetuousness and quick temper make that difficult for her. When the book opens, the Australian second grader is sitting in the time out chair at school. "I must not throw a temper tantrum in class," she writes, while thinking, "[u]nless absolutely necessary." The dichotomy between what Lucy says and thinks adds ample humor to this heartfelt novel. She's not afraid to speak her mind, though: when her father suggests that she practice counting to 10 before losing her temper, Lucy responds, "What for?... I already know how to count." The pressure to be good intensifies when Lucy's visiting aunt from Holland tells her that the Dutch Santa Claus's sidekick stuffs naughty kids in a sack and sends them to Spain. This encourages Lucy to "figure out this good and bad business before it was too late," and she takes steps to control her anger. With humor of their own, Orsini's b&w spot illustrations portray Lucy's behavior-bad and good. Ages 7-10. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.