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by Lynne Barasch & illustrated by Lynne Barasch

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-31577-9
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

When Grandpa went to school in the 1940s, there were only three rooms for eight grades, no indoor bathroom or cafeteria, and a wood-burning stove to keep the kids warm. His grandson loves hearing the stories about the small country school and especially how Grandpa was the smartest until fifth grade, when the new girl beat him in the yearlong spelling bee. In an intimate style akin to Radio Rescue, both text and sketchy watercolors have a charming innocence that conveys a peek into the past without being overly nostalgic, sappy, or maudlin. A child-friendly history lesson made relevant with details like built-in inkwells, lunch boxes, flypaper strips, and peeing in the snow, proving that kids in a small country school learned better than those in a big city school. Map endpapers create the setting and the ending sets up the next story. A+. (Picture book. 4-8)