There’s nothing wishy-washy about Mae: She is “not going” to school!
Despite her parents’ best efforts, all Mae sees is “the things that could go wrong.” The other kids might not like her, they all might know how to write (she does not), and she might miss her mother. As soon as she gets to school, she climbs a tree. Maybe she could live there. She’s soon joined by Rosie, who is equally determined not to go to school: Other kids might not play with her, she might be asked to read (she doesn’t know how yet), and she might miss her dad. Then Ms. Pearl climbs up, explaining that she’s not going to school, either: The kids might not like her, she might “forget how to spell Tuesday,” and she might miss her cat. Taking comfort from one another, the three descend to go to school. Berube’s story takes its protagonist’s fears seriously, and even though young readers are likely to anticipate the story’s outcome, its respect for their emotions is clear. Repetition and patterning will help children participate in the telling and anticipate what will happen next. In the bright and splashy illustrations, Mae is depicted with pale skin and a thatch of black hair; Rosie has light brown skin and brown pigtails; Ms. Pearl has brown skin and a poof of tightly curled brown hair.
A sweet affirmation of jitters and comfort in numbers. (Picture book. 4-6)