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The Brand New Kid

The Brand New Kid

4.1 8
by Katie Couric, Marjorie Priceman (Illustrator)
Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O'Toole were running and laughing-their first day of school was today! And they wondered just what was in store.
Would this be a good year?
Would school be a bore?

Everyone remembers feeling excited and nervous each fall on the first day of school. It's no different for Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O'Toole. But this year, there's not


Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O'Toole were running and laughing-their first day of school was today! And they wondered just what was in store.
Would this be a good year?
Would school be a bore?

Everyone remembers feeling excited and nervous each fall on the first day of school. It's no different for Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O'Toole. But this year, there's not only a new teacher to meet, but a brand new kid as well. Lazlo S. Gasky doesn't look or speak quite like the other kids, and no one is sure what to make of him. In fact, they respond to his arrival at Brookhaven School by taunting and teasing him. But when Ellie realizes how tough it is for Lazlo, she reaches out, and after school one day they share an afternoon of soccer, strudel, and chess. Besides making a new friend, she and Lazlo teach their classmates an important lesson-one that isn't in their schoolbooks-about accepting people who are different...and in getting to know Lazlo, the kids learn that people aren't that different from each other after all.

From one of America's most respected journalists, The Brand New Kid is a heartwarming story about tolerance and the need to give others a chance that will entertain and inspire children and adults alike.

Editorial Reviews

Our Review
Katie Couric, the charming coanchor of NBC's Today show, presents Lazlo S. Gazky. Lazlo is an exchange student from Hungary who is enrolled at the Brookhaven School. Nervous and in need of a new friend, Lazlo hopes for kind faces in his new classroom. Instead, all the kids make fun of him for his perfectly pink lips, strange hair, and even stranger accent. Second grade wasn't supposed to be like this! Teased by his classmates, Lazlo is miserable. Then Ellie and Carrie, two classmates who had initially joined in the taunting, have a change of heart. They teach the rest of the kids that Lazlo is no different than any of them.

Couric has written the story in rhyme and used Caldecott Honor artist Marjorie Priceman to illustrate the lovely Lazlo and the rest of the book. Her watercolor illustrations are spirited and detailed, the perfect accompaniment to the story. Couric has written a story that is perfect for both adults and children, sure to initiate discussion about compassion and differences.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Couric, co-host of NBC's Today show, pens an energetic though uneven picture book about tolerance. When second grader Lazlo S. Gasky, who speaks and looks different from everyone else, arrives at Brookhaven School, the other kids are quick to both tease and alienate him. Some weeks later, when Ellie McSnelly sees Lazlo's tearful mother, the girl makes kind overtures to him that Lazlo happily returns many times over. Ellie soon inspires others to extend a hand in friendship. Couric's laudable message of inclusion comes through. Unfortunately, however, the narrative's rhyming-couplets format results in forced, sometimes ungrammatical, phrasing (e.g., "They arrived at his door greeted by his French poodle/ and Mrs. Gasky was there with a plate of warm strudel!" and "He's terrific at chess, and his Mom's really sweet./ Playing soccer the guy doesn't have two left feet"). In what appears to be a hole in the plot, Ellie's best friend, Carrie, from whom she is initially inseparable, all but disappears for much of the proceedings. Priceman (Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin) compensates by picturing Carrie even when she's absent from the text. Using softer lines and more muted hues than usual, the artist captures a full gamut of emotion, particularly in the crabby faces of taunting classmates and a beaming portrait of Lazlo at the moment he makes his first real friend. Ages 3-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Billed as juvenile fiction but advertised in the adult catalog, this is one of those crossover stories that might mean more to adults than children. Lazlo S. Gazky is the new kid in class, and the NBC coanchor shows us how he learns to cope. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-When Lazlo S. Gasky, the new kid in town, goes to school, he is teased, left out of games, and even tripped while carrying his lunch tray. It's not until one of his classmates sees his mother crying that she considers being nice to Lazlo. After a day of playing chess and eating strudel together, Ellie sticks up for him at school. The rhyming text, although at times awkward as well as faulty in cadence, helps keep the tone light. However, it also raises some major concerns, mainly the lack of adult intervention. Where are the adults when Lazlo is being maligned? Why does "the best teacher by far in the whole second grade" single out the new student by drawing attention to his "different" name? Where's the gym teacher or the lunch monitor when Lazlo is being mistreated? And how is it that a student is privy to Mrs. Gasky's concerns? "Her son's having trouble, she might pull him out,/this school may be wrong for him, she's full of doubt." Pen-and-ink and watercolor art helps to create distinct and sympathetic characters. Readers have only to see the transformation of Lazlo's face as he smiles to know how much it means to him to have a friend. The looseness of the drawings, the accomplished use of texture, and the white of the page enhance but don't entirely compensate for this flawed yet sincere title.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Clarissa Cruz
The message—don't judge others based on appearance—is both good and relevant...Kids will like th giggly character names, vivid illustrations, and lilting rhymes....
Entertainment Weekly

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.31(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.33(d)
AD570L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Katie Couric has been a co-anchor of NBC News' Today since 1991, and in that position she has covered and debuted many important stories about life in America. She is also a contributing anchor for the newsmagazine Dateline NBC. She has been awarded two Emmys, named one of Glamour's Women of the Year, and won wide recognition for her excellent journalism. Raised in Arlington, Virginia, she lives in New York with her two daughters and is at work on her next book.

Marjorie Priceman was awarded a Caldecott Honor for Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss, one of the New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books of 1995. Since her first book, the award-winning Friend or Frog, she has illustrated sixteen books and authored five more, including Emeline at the Circus (1999), also a Times Ten Best Illustrated book. Raised in New York, she studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

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Brand New Kid 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My girlfriend's son, Mateusz, was also picked on in school for his name and being Polish, and he, too, finally found friends. A great book for building charisma.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite childrens' books. I never tire of reading it to my kids. A great rhyme with a moral too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are like me, you are a Katie Couric fan. This book shows a new side of her, the caring mom looking out for all the kids in school. Aided by the bright, up-beat water colors of Marjorie Priceman, Ms. Couric has written the most directly effective encouragement to looking beyond appearances that I have seen for the 2nd grade group. Despite being flawed by an awkward rhyming scheme, the fundamental message manages to hit the heart directly. I suspect that enormous numbers of children will benefit as a result, as will charity with some of the proceeds from this book. At the beginning of second grade, Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O'Toole were delighted to find themselves together in Miss Kincaid's class, who is 'the best teacher by far in the whole second grade.' On the first day of school, the teacher introduces a new student, Lazlo S. Gasky. He has spiky white-blond hair, and a voice that is a bit too loud and accented. His name seems strange, too. When Miss Kincaid asks the class to 'Please welcome him here, won't you all please say hi?' the students just turned and stared. Everyone ignored Lazlo after that until Ricky Jenson called him, 'Hey fool!' and someone tripped him in the cafeteria. Lazlo was lonely, and his mother was upset. Upon learning this, Ellie decides, 'I'll ask him to play . . . .' Becoming acquainted, she is able to break the ice for him with the other children. Soon, he is accepted. As Ms. Couric says in the introduction, '[C]hildren can sometimes be cruel. Kindness can be taught . . . .' She hopes 'this story will inspire all of us to reach out and make someone feel a little . . . less lonely.' I think it will work, and encourage you to buy and read this story to your children. Most children's books attack the problem of the 'different' kid (The Ugly Duckling) by working on that child's self-esteem, using differences as sources of strength. But a friendly, welcoming hand works much better in my experience. This book helps the child who isn't 'different' to extend herself or himself across the social gulf. We clearly need both kinds of books. How many times have you wanted to do the right thing, but weren't quite sure what to do? This book is very helpful for that circumstance in elementary school. 'He may look slightly strange, has an accent and stuff, but if you know him, you'd like him . . . .' An obvious follow-on is to ask your child to invite over classmates whom he or she does not yet know well. In the second grade, your encouragement will probably carry the day. This can then start to become a habit of being an open and friendly person. Your child will accordingly enjoy many more good relationships throughout life. Lots of good results will follow for your child . . . as well as for other children. Help your child learn to enjoy becoming better acquainted with everyone! In this way, you can help spread love and caring throughout humanity. We will all be the beneficiaries. 'Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.' Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution
Guest More than 1 year ago
Katie Couric is the author of this book. She writes this book so well that it feels like you are there! This book is about a new kid named Lazlo S. Gasky. No one really likes him or wants to play with him because they think he is different. One day a girl named Ellie decides to be nice to him and asks him to play. Lazlo says 'Yes'! After that, everyone starts to like him. I like this book because it shows that just because someone is different from you doesn't mean they don't like to do the same things as you or that you shouldn't try and get to know them. Another reason I love this book is because Katie Couric is my favorite news person. I highly recommend this book for teachers to read on the first day of school. It will show students in a class how to treat people and if you are the new student it will make you feel included.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was wonderful. It teaches children that it is alright to be different and that if you give someone a chance and treat them with kindness, you might be surprised at how much you enjoy their friendship. My students also love not only the story but the illustrations as well. Good job Katie Couric for a touching, meaningful book that kids of all ages will relate to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book for Christmas for my two boys - ages 5 and 3. They really like the book. They enjoy the pictures and writting in rhyme helps keep them interested. I have been reading it over and over and I have yet to get tired of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
not well written. It seems like just another case of a celebrity who thinks they can write (Jamie Lee Curtis excepted). However I will give two stars to the illustrations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a well-intentioned book that falls short. 'Energetic but uneven' is how one review put it best.