A delightfully entertaining and charmingly illustrated children's picture book by Rosilyn Seay is unreservedly recommended for young readers ages 6 to 9. While especially appropriate for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ardie's Big Secret" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99)
Midwest Book Reviews
The Picturebook Shelf
A boy manages to keep a huge secret in this chapter book.
This engaging tale about a black family explains how Ardwick “Ardie” Edward Smith concealed an important secret. Ardie knows he must stay busy to deflect his parents’ suspicions. But when soccer practice in the yard and his porch-rail balancing draw their attention, he realizes he needs a different strategy. He confides in a helpful teacher, who suggests he concoct a project. After choosing one, he collects supplies from around the house, distracting his parents by pretending he’s a detective on a case. A subplot about how he finds it hard to share with his younger brother provides readers with their first clue. Ardie has a big brother who lives far away—and it’s this sibling who told him the secret. As the clues mount and Ardie finishes his project, readers should be as delighted as his family about the big surprise and happy to see how the supplies came into play. Seay’s (The Girl Who Loved Pots, 2017) frequent computer-generated illustrations of the family are perfect in tone and provide extra details and plenty of clues for beginning readers. Siblings are sure to identify with Ardie, and the author’s use of suspense in slowly revealing hints about the secret should keep the audience guessing.
A charming day-in-the-life adventure for newly independent readers.
July 25th, 2018
I quite enjoyed the mysterious build-up of the big secret kept by Ardie as he keeps his family in the dark about the big surprise which is about to happen. Rosilyn Seay’s tale of a young boy who almost succumbs to peer pressure from his own family truly keeps the reader begging for more at the turn of each page. I know from personal experience that parents can be quite good at extracting the truth from their children and I admired Ardie’s determination to keep his secret, even after he’d been sprayed by the hose! Although not all secrets are good to keep, this one proved to be very exciting indeed, creating warmth and happiness for Ardie’s family almost to the point of tears. I believe that Ardie’s Big Secret will be a real hit with younger readers aged 7-12 years, as they can also revel in the happiness felt when the secret reveals itself as a big surprise.
Rosilyn Seay’s tale of a young boy who almost succumbs to peer pressure from his own family truly keeps the reader begging for more at the turn of each page… I believe that Ardie’s Big Secret will be a real hit with younger readers aged 7-12 years, as they can also revel in the happiness felt when the secret reveals itself as a big surprise.