Title: Over-Scheduled Andrew
Author/Illustrator: Ashley Spires
Published By: Tundra Books, 2016
Sometimes I think back to the before-times of pre-COVID life. I remember how busy it was, how much we had on the go. And while I’ve never over-scheduled my kids, I can’t say the same for myself.
When I picked up Over-Scheduled Andrew at the library, I immediately thought of a young Jess, back in high school. I belonged to ALL THE THINGS. In the band? You know it. Hospital volunteer? Yes ma’am. Editor of the newspaper? Who else? In the play? Yessirree. Prefect? Unfortunately.
I was part of it all.* And I LOVED it.
Andrew is the same. He is a big joiner, and he has many skills to hone and interests to pursue. He can act! He can debate! He can play chess and dance and do karate and tennis and edit the newspaper and play the bagpipes. He can join the French film club and take singing lessons and learn Spanish. But…as Andrew joins more things, the time he has left over to spend with his best friend dwindles to a mere fifteen minutes on Friday afternoons.
More than that, Andrew is absolutely exhausted.
He starts to make mistakes. Get confused. Play bagpipes during a tennis match. Dance through debating. Andrew is a mess.
Finally, when Andrew messes up his big role in the play, he realizes he’s taken on too much. He quits almost everything and returns to a life of drama, enjoying his best friend, and starting a new, no-pressure club.
The story is, obviously, delightful. The message rings true for so many kids. Your time is important: how do you want to spend it? Also, just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you have time to do it well (looking at you, young Jess).
Aside from a great story, let’s talk about art: Andrew is a chickadee, which makes him exceptionally cute. I love the style Ms. Spires chose for this book, and all the little details she added on each page. Her characters are so expressive and watching Andrew become more and more bedraggled is both adorable and relatable.
I’ve reviewed Ashley Spires’ books before (see here) , and we’re huge fans in this house. This is another winner.
Mama’s rating: Ten clubs out of ten!
* “All” meaning “everything non-athletic.” Your girl doesn’t do sports. Trust me, it’s for the best.