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by Cari Best & illustrated by Giselle Potter

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 2001
ISBN: 0-374-36882-1
Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

The creators of Three Cheers For Catherine the Great (1999) deal inventively with an all-too-common situation in this tale of a shy child finding the inner stuff to withstand a bully’s taunts. Classmate Irwin’s sly comments about fat knees and hairy arms have Violet nervously fingering her hair and trying to disappear. An upcoming class play about the planets looks like just another chance for Irwin to make her wilt in public, until her understanding teacher gives her the role of Lady Space, an offstage, invisible announcer. Better yet, when Irwin loses his concentration during the performance, Violet talks him back with unflattering ad-libs that sound like part of the script. Whether in school dress or globular planet costume, Potter’s figures seem to dance across the pages, showing a lively range of feelings through expression and body language. In the end, Irwin actually thanks Violet in private, and though he continues to rag on her in public, she’s gained enough self-confidence to ignore him. Wallflowers of all stripes will enjoy watching Violet putting Irwin in his place without raising the hostility level—a tricky, but effective, strategy. (Picture book. 6-8)