Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
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.
School Library Journal Review
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.
Though known for her tantrums and often in trouble, Lucy promises to be on her best behavior when her elderly great-aunt from Holland comes for an extended visit in Adelaide, Australia. Old-fashioned Tante Bep terrifies Lucy with tales of naughty children taken away before Christmas, but as she discovers, her aunt has a softer side as well. Lucy's problems multiply until a crisis brings help, both at home and at school. Musgrove, an Australian writer, creates a sympathetic character in Lucy, who has strong emotions and, initially, no effective ways to control them. Well-intentioned but ill-fated, her attempts to change herself from Lucy the Bad to Lucy the Good will strike a chord with many readers. Orsini's many gray-washed drawings capture the characters' actions and emotions with wit and verve. A glossary of Dutch words, a recipe for Dutch spice cookies, and two blank pages (for writing down anger-management techniques) are appended to this sometimes amusing, sometimes touching chapter book.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Poor Lucy. She wants to be a good girl, but her impulsive nature and quick temper make it difficult. At home, her parents and little brother understand her mercurial moods, but second grade is another thing altogether. Classmate Jacinta enjoys pushing Lucy to the brink, making her so angry she ends up screaming -- then sitting in the Time Out chair. When elderly Tante Bep visits from the Netherlands, she brings the traditional Sinterklaas and Black Piet story with her and whispers it to her niece as a cautionary tale: Lucy must be quiet and clean or Black Piet will put her into his coal sack and take her to Spain. Forever. Thoughts of Black Piet plague Lucy, and her terror leads her to work especially hard at being good. A dangerous experience in the river helps Lucy realize her essential goodness and allows her to finally talk to her parents about her fears and frustration. In this Australian import, Musgrove's prose is precise and her imagery well chosen: Lucy's pigtails are "like taps squirting water"; her elderly aunt is imagined as "a troll with hot breath and nails so sharp they could carve a roast turkey." This realistic story of a girl trying to get her temper under control will win fans on both sides of the globe. robin l. smith (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Lucy is her own worst enemy. When she's frustrated, her anger erupts in gigantic shrieks. She wakes up every day fully intending to be good, only to find herself in trouble again. Some of Lucy's problems arise from misunderstandings, but she's often hampered by her temper and lack of common sense. The stakes get higher when grouchy Tante Bep visits from Holland and threatens Lucy with the legend of Black Piet, who will take her away if she doesn't behave. Throughout her many misadventures Lucy struggles to determine whether she's a good person, which she would like to believe, or the bad person others seem to perceive. She even devises an experiment based on the theory that good eggs sink and bad eggs float that lands her in real danger. With a little help and a lot of thought Lucy adopts some techniques for defusing her tantrums. She's not Ramona Quimby, but Lucy tackles a tough issue with determination. Lucy's Dutch-Australian family is thoroughly modern (Dad's in charge of the cleaning) and provides loving, if exasperated, support for Lucy. (Dutch glossary, recipe, anger-management writing prompt) (Fiction. 7-10)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.