It's Not Fair!


Why'd I get the smaller half? Why don't you yell at her? Why does my team always lose? Why can't we have a pet giraffe? Because that's life.

And life can't always go the way we want it to. But with this delightful and witty book, Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld reassure us that everyone, including pigs, planets, and square pegs, sometimes thinks: It's not fair!

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Why'd I get the smaller half? Why don't you yell at her? Why does my team always lose? Why can't we have a pet giraffe? Because that's life.

And life can't always go the way we want it to. But with this delightful and witty book, Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld reassure us that everyone, including pigs, planets, and square pegs, sometimes thinks: It's not fair!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gwen Vanderhage
Why'd she get a bigger cookie? Why do I have chicken pox on my birthday? He gets to stay up later than me! It's not fair! Told in a series of vignettes from a wide variety of perspectives, this is a book-long whine about fairness. The book is cleverly arranged so that different people—and objects, like a pig and a stool—all get a chance to share their complaints. Rosenthal shows that everyone thinks they're getting a worse deal than someone else and that you can be envied for something you don't think is very special at all. Maybe your feet are big, but you get to sit by the window. In her characteristic way, Rosenthal spins a common childhood gripe and makes it humorous. Lichtenheld's illustrations are bright and simple, with disappointment painted obviously on the face of whatever child is feeling down in each picture. Younger children may not understand the point that Rosenthal is trying to make with the book, so it might flop with them as a read-aloud. Just be prepared with talking points if using the book with a young audience. Reviewer: Gwen Vanderhage
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1- This attempt to poke fun at one of the most familiar childhood complaints is framed by endpapers clearly aimed at earning grown-up chuckles-they show a pseudo-lawsuit drawn up by the firm of "Fullglass and Milk, P.C." and filed in the "Circuit Court of Fairness." The text consists of questions about particular pieces of bad luck or perceived slights that range from the division of cookies to a child who must wear glasses. "Why does she get brand-new shoes?/"Why does my team always lose?" The joke is stretched, although thinly, to include complaints from animals, inanimate objects, monsters, and planets. The structure and rhythm of the text falter from time to time, but the cartoon illustrations give the narrative a lively yet simple look with lots of emotion-mostly indignation and sadness-captured in just a few lines. This book will be well received by those who know the inherent injustices of childhood all too well, and the repeated refrain will invite participation in groups and one-on-one sharing.-Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY

Kirkus Reviews
In this wry tale, the familiar refrain of disgruntled siblings is taken to the nth degree of absurdity. The titular complaint becomes the mantra for all creation, from the smallest spider coveting the better web across the way to a green-eyed planet enviously ogling Saturn's rings. Rosenthal reveals the truth of the old adage, "Life's not fair," driving home this bittersweet truth with a healthy dose of humor so readers will feel a sense of sympathetic commiseration rather than ridicule. By acknowledging the universal feeling that sometimes things just do not go the way one would like, the text paves the way to readers' acceptance and resilience. Litchtenheld's cartoon-style illustrations are deftly sketched with tongue firmly in cheek. His placement of brightly colored figures against simple backgrounds conveys the power of the characters' emotions. This funny, philosophical book is a treat to share with children of all ages. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061152573
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/6/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 147,137
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a New York Times bestselling author of books for children and grown-ups. Her children’s books include the Cookies series, illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer; Duck! Rabbit!, The OK Book, Yes Day!, and It’s Not Fair!, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld; Spoon, illustrated by Scott Magoon; The Wonder Book, illustrated by Paul Schmid; and This Plus That, Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink, illustrated by Jen Corace. Her work for grown-ups includes the memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and the film project The Beckoning of Lovely. Amy lives online at and for real in Chicago.

Tom Lichtenheld is the author and illustrator of What Are You So Grumpy About?, What's with This Room?, and Everything I Know About Pirates and the illustrator of his first two collaborations with Amy Krouse Rosenthal, The OK Book and It's Not Fair! He lives in Geneva, Illinois.

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