JAMAICA AND THE SUBSTITUTE TEACHER

Jamaica (Jamaica and Brianna, 1993, etc.) is back in another a gentle story, and in for another moral dilemma. Her class has a calm, smiling substitute teacher, Mrs. Duval, who explains that while the regular teacher is absent, “I plan for us to work hard, but we’ll have fun, too.” Jamaica earns high praise for her reading aloud, for finding the hidden penguin, and for answering math puzzles, but when she gets to the spelling test, she can’t remember how to spell “calf.” Yielding to temptation, she looks at her friend’s paper. The tests are corrected, and she gets 100%, but Jamaica knows she copied and doesn’t turn the paper in, later confessing (unprompted) to her behavior. The teacher praises Jamaica’s courage in admitting she cheated, and says, “You don’t have to be perfect to be special in my class. All my students are special. I’m glad you’re one of them.” The softly colored pastel drawings show Jamaica, her range of emotions, appealing classmates, and the teacher’s kindly nature. This sensitive treatment of the topic makes the book ideal for group discussion. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90503-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1999

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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