Joey King is as ready as any kid on the block to get to class and learn to read; in fact, that's the main reason he's willing to attend school. Everything points to a good year: nice teacher, new backpack, an older brother to take him back and forth. Of course, there are problems, too, when a substitute takes over and when Ronald, a large boy repeating first grade, bullies Joey with royal variations on his last name. Meanwhile, the generally ebullient narrative is interrupted five times by clumsily realistic drawings of stiffly posed figures--so few illustrations as to seem almost pointless, and readers who are sufficiently proficient may be too old to find the triumphs of a first grader interesting. Still, a pleasant tale, with small, well-realized aspirations. As for Joey--he's an indomitable little guy whose enthusiasms and fears are totally on the mark.