Tweezle into Everything Reviews

School Library Journal

Tweezle_C“PreS-Gr 2–McLellan’s playful, heartwarming story about a cuddly monster family examines how birth order affects sibling relationships. As the youngest, Tweezle is coddled by Mom and Dad, who call him their “sweet baby.” Tweezle repeats the phrase, “I’m not baby…I big boy!” throughout the story, as he tries prove to his older siblings, Hoogie and Pumpkin, that he is just like them. Tweezle attempts to make pancakes, wash dishes, and help with the garden. Onomatopoeic words (“splash and a crash/blam and a slam”) mimic the chaos that follows poor Tweezle as he attempts to win his siblings’ acceptance. When he rescues a baby bird, the family celebrates Tweezle’s good deed, acknowledging that is was a “big” deal for such a “big” guy. Bright colored pencil and watercolor illustrations adorn each spread, while a soft-hued palette adds calmness. Expansive white space allows readers to appreciate details in the facial expressions. A great addition to both school and public libraries that help teach sibling acceptance and understanding.”
—Krista Welz, North Bergen High School, NJ

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Kirkus Reviews

“Tweezle is tired of being the baby monster of the family. He’s a big boy now—and has some not-so-helpful ways of showing it!

McLellan and Griffiths’ previous work, Hoogie in the Middle (2013), had middle monster Hoogie feeling invisible and frustrated. Now Tweezle takes a stand against his birth order. Everyone calls him “little,” but he wants to do something BIG. He tries to help in the kitchen, but the dishes crash to the floor. He tries to help outdoors, but he ends up knocking everything over in the shed. His sisters shout at him: “You’re the lint at the bottom of my pocket!” and “The mud on the bottom of my sneakers!” After this, little Tweezle mysteriously goes missing. His family finds him helping a baby bird that has fallen from the nest. Tweezle has had a big idea after all.Although furry, green and whiskered, Tweezle shares many commonalities with toddlers who are gaining independence. Older siblings in particular will recognize the ways Tweezle’s good intentions sometimes work against him.

…[T]his tale about an endearing monster family spotlights some very real moments of childhood growth. (Picture book. 3-6)”

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“A most beautifully written and illustrated book about a little boy monster who lives with his parents and big [sisters]. To the family Tweezle seems like a little troublemaker but in reality he only wants to help out doing big kid stuff like his siblings

Being the baby of the family, Tweezle tries to do the things big kids do but always gets into trouble because he is too little. Stuff gets broken and a lot of messes need to be cleaned up but Tweezle doesn’t mean to be a troublemaker. When he finds a baby bird in trouble and fixes a nest for it, his family realizes that Tweezle means well and that he is growing up and not just a baby.

This book would be a helpful tool to read to an older sibling in preparation of a newcomer in the family. It could help explain to small children what happens when a new smaller child tries to play with them that sometimes they cannot do the same things as they do.”

Canadian Children’s Book News

“Award-winning author Stephanie McLellan has drawn inspiration from her own three children and created Hoogie in the Middle, a sneak peek into the world surrounding Hoogie, the middle child. The author playfully uses rhythm, alliteration and similes to delineate Hoogie’s character and exhibit how the middle child feels: ‘Pumpkin is the big, big girl,’ ‘Tweezle is the itty, bitty baby’ and ‘[Hoogie] feels like the hole in the middle of a donut.’

Whatever Hoogie does is not right. When Tweezle squishes food, ‘Everyone laughs.’ When Hoogie does it, she is told to ‘not be such a baby.’ Similarly, she is ‘too small’ to help dad. ‘Too big. Too small. No room for me at all,’ sums up the pain she feels. In the end just like ‘the sun in the middle of the solar system,’ Hoogie isn’t so invisible anymore. McLellan finishes her story with a deliciously sweet simile!

Continuing in this series, Tweezle into Everything follows in the footsteps of the typical baby of the household where Tweezle is the ‘last yummy cookie.’ Charming similes and playful dialogue express Tweezle’s adorable character, constantly trying to prove he is big: ‘I not baby…I big boy!’ He believes he is all grown up he messes his father’s tool shed, or enhances his older sister’s paintings. However, Tweezle is made to feel like the ‘…mud on the bottom…’ of his sister’s shoes. Yet he refuses to give up: ‘I not bottom.’ The book has an unpredictable and heart-warming ending, showing that what Tweezle unexpectedly does is indeed a ‘big deal.’

This loveable family comes alive with Dean Griffiths cuddly personified monsters. Vibrating hues painted in pencil crayons and watercolours evoke an expressionistic style with realistic elements. The clever use of negative space adds dimension and energy to the characters as well. Consistent rendering makes switching from each book in the series a seamless transition. The difference is the focus on the title characters, e.g. Hoogie holding a donut over one eye exaggerating the fact that she feels “like the hole in the middle of the donut’ or Tweezle holding a large beach ball reinforcing his babyish stature.

Hoogie in the Middle and Tweezle into Everything explore the wonder of childhood and the average day-to-day dilemmas and real-life emotions of children with siblings. Wonderful books to read aloud that provide an opportunity for discussion among parents and children.”
—Lara Chauvin

CM Magazine

Tweezle into Everything is a great book for young children. It can be used to help young children who may be struggling with the challenges of not being able to do what older siblings can do, or for slightly older children who have younger siblings. The clear language and straightforward plot make it easily comprehendible for young children. Dean Griffiths has illustrated the book in bright, cheery colours that will appeal to young eyes and hold their attention. There is quite a bit of detail in the illustrations which can invite interaction with the storyteller and the child.

Overall, Tweezle into Everything would make a great addition to any bookshelf. It tackles the real-life issues of age and the challenges of birth order for both older and younger children, and it can be used as a great tool for teaching empathy. Recommended.
—Rhiannon Jones

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“…The trick of putting a great picture book together is telling a story that has fluency with powerful but concise text and illustrations that complement the text. Tweezle into Everything has everything that makes a picture book right.  Stephanie McLellan has found the right words for the common dilemma of the youngest child in a family, surprising readers with an unexpected plot twist to Tweezle’s story, and Dean Griffiths has again brought the less-than-scary monsters to life.  If you’re reading this to your children, make sure to have them carefully note the details in the illustrations because Dean Griffiths does not fill space; every detail enhances the story and even hints at what Tweezle is up to.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be delighted by the turnabout in the story, and close the cover with a smile on your face, for Tweezle and others (I can’t give it away), and for Stephanie McLellan and Dean Griffiths who’ve proven that big stories can come in few pages.”
—Helen Kubiw

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Bookish Notions

“Not only will the message in this cute story win over the youngsters in your life, but the  illustrations are sure to capture their attention and imaginations. Bursting with colour and movement, the pictures of the monster family are a lot of fun. I love how bright they are!

…Tweezle into Everything is a wonderful family read, especially for young children who may be struggling with either being the youngest, or having a young sibling who always seems to be getting into everything.”

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