My Life in Pictures by Deborah Zemke

Bea Garcia learns to deal with disappointment and make the most of her artistic gifts in this first cartoon-illustrated installment of a series.

life in pictures

My Life in Pictures (Bea Garcia #1) by Deborah Zemke.  Dial, 2016, 134 pages

Reading Level: Chapter Books, ages 4-8

Recommended for: ages 6-10

It’s bad enough when your best friend moves away to Australia, where you can’t even visit her, but when a big-burping, name-calling, mean-through-and-through monster moves into your best friend’s house next door, that’s Rottenville.  Permanently. However, though Beatrice Holmes Garcia doesn’t know it until the end, she’s got something that can make all the difference in how she looks at life: her artistic talent.  It may even make a friend of Monster—that is, Bert—but we needn’t go there yet because this is only Volume One.

Most kids can sympathize with Bea, losing her only friend just before school starts and having to adjust to fourth grade without Yvonne’s friendly presence.  Instead, an unfriendly presence consumes her life.  Learning to live with adversity is a theme winsomely presented, and the pictures will give early readers a chuckle.  They’ll even pick up some geography!

Cautions: None

Overall rating: 4 (out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 3.5
  • Artistic value: 4

Categories: Chapter Books, Graphic Novels, Realistic Fiction, Life Issues


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Janie is the VERY senior staff writer for Redeemed Reader, as well as a long-time contributor to WORLD Magazine and an author of nine books for children. The rest of the time she's long-distance smooching on her four grandchildren (not an easy task). She lives with her equally senior husband of almost-fifty years in the Ozarks of Missouri.

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