From the celebrated author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan, comes another humorous and poignant early middle grade novel. My Life Begins! explores how life begins for Jacob when his triplet sisters are born, and how siblings get to know each other as time, and love, evolve.
Jacob is nine years old when his life changes.
He wants a litter of puppies. But instead his parents have a different surprise. Jacob will be an older brother soon. And there won’t be only one new baby. There will be three! When the triplets are born, Jacob thinks puppies are cuter. The babies look identical to him and he gives them a name: “the Trips.”
For a school science project, Jacob decides to study the Trips. It feels like magic as they begin to smile, talk, and grow. Slowly, he gets to know each of them. They call his mother “Mama” and his father “Da.” But what will they call him? One day, one of the Trips calls him “Jay.”
As each of the triplets become unique and more special with each day, Jacob starts to wonder if “the Trips” is still a good name for them. They aren’t puppies, or a bunch of bananas, and they aren’t just “the Trips” anymore. What should he call them that will show what they mean to him? Can he figure out their “forever name?” And will he ever get a puppy?
About the Author
Patricia MacLachlan (1938-2022) was the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. She was also the author of many beloved picture books, a number of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily.
"Late Newbery Medalist MacLachlan’s slender, resonant novel traces Jacob’s adjustment to life as an older brother. MacLachlan’s understated language is effective and evocative, the characters consistently thoughtful and kind. The conflict-free story takes measured steps through Jacob’s small inner discoveries, his formation of a new identity as older sibling, and his growing relationships with each of his sisters. Miyares’s inky, sketchlike b&w art enhances the book’s tender tone." — Publishers Weekly
"This quiet chapter book is pure MacLachlan: lots of warmth and family love; a sensitive protagonist adapting to change; and spare, evocative prose that cuts to the heart of matters. Miyares’s lighthearted black-and-white illustrationsmatch the text’s gentle tone." — Horn Book Magazine
" . . . it’s an aspirational picture that could certainly make for a gentle family readaloud. Chapters are breezily episodic, with small points of drama along the way, and black and white illustrations bring a timeless charm. Light on action but heavy on sweetness, this serves as a pleasant reminder that each arrival in life marks the beginning of something new and potentially wonderful." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"MacLachlan’s calm, measured writing focuses on moments of everyday magic and charm, and Jacob’s observational notes read almost like poetry. This family is loving and oh-so pleasant, often becoming emotional at the simple but significant beauty of the babies’ growth milestones." — Kirkus Reviews
"Spot art and full-page illustrations by Miyares (Float, 2015) are . . . marked by warm affection . . . Potentially instructive for older siblings, this poignant posthumous publication by Newbery winner MacLachlan (Sarah, Plain and Tall) will surely find an eager audience." — Booklist
PRAISE FOR MY FATHER'S WORDS: ★ “MacLachlan is the master of quiet books that pack an emotional wallop. My Father’s Words finds the author in her element. MacLachlan provides a beautifully nuanced portrait of one family’s recovery after tragedy. This book feels as direct and true as a dog looking you straight in the eyes.” — The New York Times Book Review
★ “Newbery Medalist MacLachlan is known for writing heart-tugging stories in spare style, as she did in Sarah, Plain and Tall. And that’s what she does here as readers meet Fiona and Finn. Deeply moving and uplifting in unexpected ways.” — Booklist (starred review)
★ “Key relationships in her own life inspired this characteristically taut and resonant novel by Newbery Medalist MacLachlan. MacLachlan masterfully mingles core themes in this slim volume: the power of words and song, memories and family, the mutually redemptive human-canine bond, and ‘the eternal fitness of things.’” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
★ “With her customary precise, spare language, infused with emotional intelligence, MacLachlan takes readers from shocked grief to a way to live again, fundamental truths dropped carefully and delicately for young readers to comprehend in their own time. A flawless story about resilience, hope, healing, and the eternal fitness of things.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
PRAISE FOR WONDROUS REX: "MacLachlan spins from simple words an enigmatic, gentle . . . tale. Sweetly magical." — Kirkus Reviews
"A charmed (and charming) dog, a language-loving girl, and an innate aunt-niece bond are among the alluring threads that MacLachlan (Dream Within a Dream) deftly weaves into this taut novel. MacLachlan again proves her gift for shaping endearing and credible characters—even a magical canine—in this bright yet reflective story." — Publishers Weekly
"Newbery-winner MacLachlan's spare but elegant prose touches on themes of self-confidence, the writer's craft, and the sense of well-being that can come from pet ownership. This book will please younger readers and inspire would-be wordsmiths." — Booklist