"Now the kids get free time to do silly things that make them happy before we settle into bed."

In this bright and colorful text, young readers are introduced to individual members of an extended, blended family: the Wackadoodles. Mr. and Mrs. Wackadoodle opened their home—and their hearts—to homeless children from all over the world. There’s Dorian from Kenya, Chandy from Croatia, twins Coco and Mabel from China, Johnna from Ireland, and others, along with a handful of children born into the family. Each child has his and her unique interests and activities. After meeting the entire blended family, we learn how the Wackadoodles start each school day, including “a buffet line to feed everyone in a timely manner.” We are also introduced to the weekly chores charts for each member of the large family. After school, it’s homework time for the Wackadoodles, followed by dinner during which each individual shares something—good or bad—about their day.

Duggan presents a handful of worthy notions with this children’s book. For some young readers, the idea of a blended family might be a new concept; here, it is explained and presented as quite normal. Alongside the introduction of each child, in addition to the child’s image, there’s a map showing the country where the young person was born. Healthy and helpful ideas are presented, such as the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, organization, the sharing of chores among all in the family, older siblings helping younger ones with their homework, and routines for bathing and bedtime. For any young reader with whom this unique book is shared, important life lessons are imparted in a gentle but firm fashion. Emphasized throughout are the special qualities of each boy and girl in the blended family, while at the same time a strong sense of household community and togetherness is nicely highlighted.

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