THANK YOU, MR. FALKER by Patricia Polacco

THANK YOU, MR. FALKER

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9

KIRKUS REVIEW

An autobiographical tribute to Polacco’s fifth-grade teacher, the first adult to recognize her learning disability and to help her learn to read. Trisha begins kindergarten with high hopes, but as the years go by she becomes convinced she is dumb. She can draw well, but is desperately frustrated by math and reading. In fifth grade, Mr. Falker silences the children who taunt Trisha, and begins, with a reading teacher, to help her after school. A thank-you to a teacher who made a difference is always welcome, but this one is unbearably sentimental. Although the perspective is supposed to be Trisha’s, many sentences give away the adult viewpoint, e.g., “She didn’t notice that Mr. Falker and Miss Plessy had tears in their eyes.” The extent to which Trisha limns her own misery and deifies Mr. Falker (complete with a classroom version of a “He who is without sin among you” scene) is mawkish. Mr. Falker’s implicit sense of fairness—“Right from the start, it didn’t seem to matter to Mr. Falker which kids were the cutest. Or the smartest. Or the best at anything”—is contradicted when Trisha is the object of praise: Mr. Falker, watching her draw, whispers, “This is brilliant . . . absolutely brilliant. Do you know how talented you are?” Polacco’s disdain for all the other teachers and the students intrudes on Trisha’s more profoundly heartbreaking perspective; the book lacks the author’s usual flair for making personal stories universal. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-399-23166-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998




MORE BY PATRICIA POLACCO

ChildrenTHE BLESSING CUP by Patricia Polacco
by Patricia Polacco
ChildrenBULLY by Patricia Polacco
by Patricia Polacco
ChildrenTHE ART OF MISS CHEW by Patricia Polacco
by Patricia Polacco

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieSiggy and the Bullies by Blanche R. Dudley
by Blanche R. Dudley
ChildrenHUDSON HATES SCHOOL by Ella  Hudson
by Ella Hudson
ChildrenBACK TO FRONT AND UPSIDE DOWN by Claire Alexander
by Claire Alexander