From the Publisher
“My Secret Bully provides an important resource to help parents.” –Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out
“[In Just Kidding] Trudy Ludwig has not only captured the heart of boy taunting, but also the best solutions.” –Susan Wellman, founder of The Ophelia Project
“Sorry! helps parents and educators teach children the magic transformative power of apology.” –Aaron Lazare, MD, author of On Apology
“[Trouble Talk] would be well used by school counselors or social workers to interface with a child who’s exhibiting or harmed by ‘trouble talk.’” –School Library Journal
“Too Perfect sets the stage for meaningful discussions about being yourself and working to your potential, not to perfection. In our extremely competitive society, I highly recommend this book for kids and parents!”
–Barbara Z. Carlson, cofounder of Putting Family First and coauthor of Putting Family First: Successful Strategies for Reclaiming Family Life in a Hurry-up World
“Too Perfect is a much-needed primer for our children (not to mention, the children inside all of us) on why perfection is unhealthy, unproductive, and plain old unfun.” –Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body
“With Too Perfect, Trudy Ludwig has hit the mark on the pitfalls of perfectionism–and shows children and their parents that we are all ‘perfect’ just the way we are.” –Jill Zimmerman Rutledge, MSW, LCSW, author of Picture Perfect: What You Need to Feel Better About Your Body
“Perfectionism isn’t a disease to be conquered; it is a self-esteem issue in need of healing. Too Perfect shows us how we might begin to do just that.” –Thomas S. Greenspon, PhD, author of Freeing Our Families From Perfectionism and What to Do When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough: A Guide for Kids
School Library Journal
The dangers of perfectionism are didactically portrayed here. Red-haired, freckled Maisie is jealous of her beautiful and successful friend Kayla, though she slowly realizes that Kayla's unattainable standards cause her extreme stress. Kayla is pressured by her parents to excel, and her unhappiness harms her relationships. When Kayla is overwhelmed by a school assignment, Maisie confides in her teacher, who consults the school counselor. Maisie's mother initiates an "Appreciation Time" for Maisie's family to encourage self-esteem. She explains, "Being happy doesn't come from being perfect. It comes from trusting and accepting who you are-mistakes and all." Back matter provides discussion questions, recommended reading, an author's note, and an afterword for parents and educators. Rendered in oils and completed in Photoshop, the nondescript characters are depicted in warm colors. While it is realistic that there is no easy resolution to Kayla's problems, the absence of a nuanced plot leads to an earnest, yet heavy presentation.-Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC
This well-intentioned but highly didactic picture book focuses on the pitfalls of apparent perfection. Maisie believes that a girl in her class is perfect in looks, actions and life. However, through some classroom interactions, she quickly sees that all is not wonderful in Kayla's world. The pressure to be perfect and the subsequent loss of Maisie's self-confidence are assuaged by her sensible mother. Fields's Photoshopped oil illustrations are more than a bit weird, with Maisie an alarming shade of pinky peach and Kayla seemingly Asian American, in an unfortunate instance of stereotyping. Somewhat interesting uses of perspective in the illustrations echo the different points of view of the characters within. An afterword by a psychologist, an author's note giving tips for dealing with this problem, questions for discussion as well as a short bibliography weigh this Lesson down even further. While lacking in literary or pictorial merit, however, the book is one of few on a very timely social problem. (Picture book. 7-10)
Read an Excerpt
Have you ever wished you could be somebody else? I have. I wished I was Kayla. Then all my problems would go away like magic. Poof!No more frizzy hair and freckles. I’d have cool clothes instead of boring hand-me-downs. I’d get straight A’s instead of a bunch of B’s and C’s. I’d be a better mesmarter, thinner, prettierand I’d have more friends.
Mom always said, “Maisie, you’re perfect just the way you are.” But she didn’t know perfect. She didn’t know Kayla.
In class, I watched Kayla all the time.
If I looked hard enough, maybe I’d find the secret to being perfect. Then I’d live happily ever afterjust like Kayla.