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Margo Thinks Twice

by Monica Arnaldo

One Saturday morning, Margo wakes up with the undeniable urge to create. As she’s about to begin assembling her masterpiece, Margo’s mother, not wanting the little girl to stick to everything, cautions her to be “easy with the glue.” After hearing this warning, Margo imagines herself getting stuck to everything from the easel to the rug and even the dresser. Every activity Margo participates in thereafter spurs caution from her mother, including playing on the swing: “Well, be careful. It’s getting windy, and there’s no telling where you’ll land.”

Margo Thinks Twice Monica ArnaldoAs the day progresses, Margo begins holding back as she becomes more worried about what can potentially go wrong, until the roles are reversed and Margo is the one telling her mother, “okay, but let’s be careful.” The last stop of the day finds Margo and her mother at a pet store. Through the window the reader sees cute little kittens. Margo, however, sees a panther, tiger, and leopard. She’s so frightened by the sounds inside the store she closes her eyes. Only with her mother’s encouragement does Margo open her eyes and see a friendly dog smiling back at her.

This beautifully illustrated picture book is perfect for anxious young readers who let their overactive imaginations prevent them from enjoying harmless, everyday activities. Author-illustrator Monica Arnaldo does a fantastic job showcasing the drama of Margo’s worst-case scenarios through the girl’s facial expressions and distinct snippets of text. She also allows the reader to see what’s real juxtaposed against what’s imagined. In the end, Margo’s mother realizes she’s the one causing her daughter’s fearfulness and takes the necessary steps to change her approach, helping Margo see that a little bit of chaos is perfectly fine.