Publishers Weekly, 2006-06-12 Nothing can measure up to a beloved kindergarten experience, as the spirited, pig-tailed narrator in this story resolutely comes to believe during her first day of first grade. Haley and her friend Ryan pride themselves on being big kids now. "Little kids stand at the school door, holding their parents' hands. Not Ryan and me. We walk into school all by ourselves." Haley's puffed-up feelings soon deflate, however. Her new teacher, Ms. Gray, gives them only a "tiny smile. Not a sunny-morning smile" like their kindergarten teacher's. The walls are bare, the work is hard and there's only one recess instead of two. "No share time? No dragon kite? No smiley teacher in a daffodil shirt? First grade stinks!" Haley reasons. The pacing of the first-person narration coupled with Spiegel's (Rosa's Room) winsome watercolors keeps this lively tale on track. Comedic spot illustrations contrast Haley's fond remembrances of kindergarten with her disgruntled feelings about first grade. With the help of an understanding Ms. Gray, Haley soon starts to see the up side of being a first-grader. Rodman (My Best Friend) handles the turmoil of school transitions with realism and humor. A good jumping-off book for discussions about differences and change. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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