Izzy Kline Has Butterflies

Beth Ain

  • Review
By – May 15, 2018

Using an uncon­ven­tion­al hybrid of poet­ry and prose, Beth Ain cap­tures all the angst of being a pread­o­les­cent girl. In the first book of this two-book set, Izzy Kline Has But­ter­flies, Izzy returns to fourth grade to find that her old friends aren’t quite friend­ly. She hopes for a big part in the school play, Free to Be You and Me, and must deal with her par­ents’ divorce and the FOUR ANNOY­ING BOYS” in her class. Thank­ful­ly, she meets the super fun Quinn Mitchell, who becomes her best friend.

The sec­ond book, The Cure for Cold Feet, address­es how Izzy man­ages the hard­ships of mid­dle school — name­ly, mean girls and cliques — as well as her father’s remar­riage, her mother’s new rela­tion­ship with a woman, and her brother’s rebel­lious­ness, as well as his exper­i­men­ta­tion with alco­hol and drugs.

While there is lit­tle that is overt­ly Jew­ish in Izzy Kline Has But­ter­flies and The Cure for Cold Feet, men­tions of Hanukkah, sum­mer camp, and a chup­pah at a wed­ding, as well as the narrator’s yid­dishe kop (Jew­ish mind) and sense of jus­tice give the books a Jew­ish feel.

A brief review can­not ade­quate­ly con­vey how beau­ti­ful­ly these books are writ­ten and how mean­ing­ful they could be to a girl fac­ing the trou­bles of grow­ing up. They are high­ly rec­om­mend­ed for read­ers ages 8 to 12, and also work won­der­ful­ly as a read-aloud for moth­ers and daugh­ters together.

Addi­tion­al Titles Fea­tured in Review

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

Discussion Questions