Tuesday, February 2, 2010

First Grade Stinks! by Mary Ann Rodman and illustrated by Beth Spiegel

First Grade Stinks! by Mary Ann Rodman and illustrated by Beth Spiegel is a book that focuses on the challenges of adjusting to a new classroom and a new teacher. The story is narrated by a little girl named Haley and is about her first day of first grade.
One of the main things I liked about this book is that is it something that all children go through: the transition from kindergarten to first grade. It may be scary as well as exciting. The perspective of Haley really shines through, and I think this was the best aspect of the book. It seemed as though a real first grader wrote the book. The concerns she had the reasons for being uneasy were all things many children face, and I think this book has a lot to offer young students. The descriptions of certain things such as colors and items and their relation to each other was nice. For example, "Ms. Lacy's shirt is the color of daffodils. Her sneakers match." Truly a small detail, but I appreciated this. I also really liked the illustrations. They were cartoon-like and bright. The illustrator uses white space to their advantage. Also, when the author wanted to emphasize something the text was enlarged and different colors. It was a small but fun detail. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.
If I could change anything about this book, I would include more positive things that Haley likes once she gets more familiar with her classroom and her teacher. Although she did mention various things, I think this could have been emphasized more.
I think this would be an excellent book to read to first graders either on their first day before first grade or before the begin the school year. I would also recommend this when trying to discuss change and coping.

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