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THE YEAR I DIDN’T GO TO SCHOOL by Giselle Potter Kirkus Star


by Giselle Potter & illustrated by Giselle Potter

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-84730-0
Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Atheneum

Potter (Brave Little Seamstress, p. 576, etc.) draws from family history for her first solo turn, recalling a tour of Italy that her puppeteering family undertook when she was seven. Her memories are both vivid—“Tiny cars filled with big families zoomed every which way, big men drank coffee from tiny cups, and the air was full of new smells”—and episodic—buying fruit wrapped in pretty papers at a market, lining up shoes on the dashboard before going to sleep in the back of a carnival truck, racing around the piazza in Assisi in new cowboy boots. A collage of actual pictures and comments from her original diary decorates both sets of endpapers; in between, she puts small figures of her parents, herself, and her little sister, often in theatrical masks and costumes, into uncluttered scenes, placing visual emphasis on faces and feelings. Fans of Tomie DePaola’s ongoing autobiography, or Patricia Polacco’s sentiment-steeped reminiscences, will enjoy this glimpse of a decidedly unconventional childhood sojourn. (author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)