Just Janey’s Way

Mandy Woolf (author) Elmira Georgieva (illustrator)
The Book Reality Experience (2022)
ISBN: 978-1922670557
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (8/22)

“Just Janey’s Way” is the story about a girl named Janey who, simply said, wants everyone to do things her way. Janey is at school and wherever she’s at – recess, the classroom, in the garden – she demands her classmates do things her way, including her friends. Janey and her class have their turn in the garden, where they are expected to get it ready before they can choose and plant their seeds. Of course, Janey has her own opinion on the gardening process, much to the dismay of her friends. After some good communication between everyone, we learn that Janey has her reasons for being bossy, but nevertheless, is regretful of her behavior toward those she cares about; and thankfully, those she cares about care about her as well and are willing to forgive and make things right.

“Just Janey’s Way” is the second book in the “Janey” series by Mandy Woolf. Woolf continues her series from “Janey Just in Case” with themes of children struggling with internal conflicts regarding something important to them. An example is that Janey has a friend in the books who struggles with anxiety and copes with it through the use of a fidget ball to ease the anxiety.

Janey’s friends demonstrate good communication in “Just Janey’s Way” by expressing their feelings of how Janey is acting toward them in an effective way that is straight to the point, but not too harsh; then they demonstrate a good resolution of the problem by accepting Janey’s apology (essentially forgiving her) and moving on with their friendship without allowing the previous negative situation to put a damper on their fun together.

The illustrations in the book are bright and cheerful and include diverse characters (friends being Asian, African American, and “ginger” with freckles and their teacher wears a hijab). The reading level seems to be around a second-third grade level, but the comprehension level could probably be any age. A third book in the series would be welcome and the first two are recommended to read by parents and kids alike, and then possibly discussed so kids have a better understanding of how they should act and ways of coping with mental health symptoms in a healthy way.

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