Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on August 25th. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

Pirates Go to School, by Corinne Demas, 28 pages.

Indeed, the pirates (and their parrots) are off to school! It’s time for them to stow away their pirate swords and cutlasses, and bring out their backpacks.
And just what do the pirates learn at school? Well, they learn the alphabet and how to write – so that they can make and read treasure maps. They learn math – after all, a pirate must know how to take measurements on his ship and count his gold coins. The pirates do artwork too, so that they can decorate their ship with more than just skulls and crossbones.
When it’s time for Show-and-Tell, the pirates have some fascinating things to show the class: a treasure map, a treasure chest and a piece of pirate gold.
What have the pirates brought for snacktime? An apple, or some crackers and cheese? No, the pirates have packed some slimy squid for themselves – their favourite snack!
Naptime is uneventful … except for the loud snoring noises which are coming from the slumbering pirates!
Later, during recess, the pirates get into a little trouble. As they are playing “Walk the Plank”, the teacher hears them swearing. When she gives them a “time-out”, they decide to mutiny … but change their minds when threatened with “No storytime!”
After hearing some wonderful tales of ships and adventures at sea, the pirates are finished school for the day. As they file onto their school bus, they sing, “Yo ho ho, we’re so cool! We are pirates and we love school!”
Both children who are hesitant and those who are enthusiastic about beginning school in September will enjoy this fun school story.
** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.

Louise the Big Cheese and the Back-to-School Smarty-Pants, by Elise Primavera, 32 pages.

Louise Cheese, about to start a new grade at Tapioca Elementary School, was absolutely determined to get straight A’s this year!
She was a little discouraged when she realized that she had been assigned to a strict teacher, Mrs. Pearl, who had very definite rules of behaviour and rarely awarded A’s to her students. Nevertheless, Louise tried hard. She answered questions in class (often out of turn). She helped in any way she was needed (and wasn’t needed). She wrote neatly (in her opinion) in her notebook, and answered all the questions on her tests (but not always correctly!). Despite all of this, Louise was unable to earn even one “A” from Mrs. Pearl.
Mrs. Pearl would say, “You can do better, Miss Cheese.”
Needless to say, Louise became very discouraged after a while. In fact, she began to wish for a different teacher!
One day, Louise got her wish. A substitute teacher beamed at the class. She was very different from Mrs. Pearl. Miss Sprinkles didn’t care if everyone talked at the same time or looked out the window. She didn’t care if students doodled in their notebooks or even on their clothes. She had no suggestions or ideas on how the students could improve their work, and she gave Louise an “A” on her poem! It was Louise’s first “A” that year. Louise was delighted … until she realized that everybody in the class had received the same mark.
By the end of the day, Louise truly missed Mrs. Pearl and could hardly wait for her return.
Elise Primavera’s wise, witty school story, with its appropriate ending and its droll illustrations, illustrates the value of earning good marks … and the value of constructive criticism.
** Recommended for ages 5 to 8 years.

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