WANDA’S FIRST DAY

Wanda is a little witch girl setting off for her first day at school—by broomstick. She’s a traditional sort of witch with a black, star-spangled dress and pointed hat, but somehow she ends up in a classroom where she doesn’t fit in with the other little girls. Wanda finds herself in Miss Dewdrop’s School with a collection of frilly fairy girls who use their wands instead of broomsticks to create magic. The teacher and the fairy girls are kind, and no one but Wanda seems to notice that she is different, so the little witch decides to stick with her unusual school placement. Though the themes of tolerance for others and blooming where you are planted are not novel, kids will like the funny details of Wanda’s witch garb and food, as well as the vibrant, jewel-toned illustrations of Miss Dewdrop’s School and students. The story is short and simple, appropriate for younger listeners who are intrigued with the current craze for pointed hats, magic spells, and special broomsticks in an out-of-this-world setting. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-439-62773-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2004

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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