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Chloe, Instead By Micah Player

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My lovely niece was born, and now six years later, I have another niece. Somehow this new family member has transformed her sister from a playful, loving, little doe-eyed girl into one of those kids with crazy eyes from Children of the Corn. Sure, on occasion she’s still the sweet Sophia I once knew, but every now and then when baby Claire is near, that sisterly jealousy will rear its ugly head. She all but adopts that creepy raspy voice common only in horror movie child protagonists who’ve been possessed by the devil. In an effort to channel some of the creepy anger into normal frustration caused by life no longer being The Sophia Show Starring Sophia, I bought said adored niece Micah Player’s new book Chloe, Instead. Molly is an excellent stand-in for Sophia, or any little one struggling with the arrival of a new sibling.

Molly expected that her little sister would be just like her, a mini-Molly cohort if you will. Much to her surprise, she gets Chloe instead. Big sis loves to play music on the piano. Little sis would much rather use the keys as the watermelons to her Gallagher routine. Big sis devours books — figuratively. Little sis devours books — not so figuratively. In a story driven by Player’s beautifully quirky, colorful illustrations as much as the words on the page, Molly eventually comes to realize that Chloe may, in fact, be the perfect cohort even if she’s not exactly a mini Molly.

Chloe, Instead helps teach children that a new arrival may be frustrating, but it can also be fun. Better yet, it does it in such a way that you won’t mind when your kiddo asks you to read it for the thousandth time.

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