School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 1-3 Donna Jean tries to learn a poem for a school assembly, but because of her older sister's constantly disparaging remarks, she fears the outcome of her performance. Indeed, her feelings of inadequacy almost win out, until her Uncle Oscar's unshaken confidence in her ability enables her to overcome her stage fright. While the basic premise of learning to believe in oneself is laudable, there are some definite problems with Williams' text. Older sister Rosemarie is never reprimanded for her continual put-downs of her younger sister, except with a few angry looks shown in the illustrations. Then, her father tends to set a rather childish example for her when he constantly blames others, namely her teacher and her tardy uncle, for Donna Jean's initial failure. The light full-page pencil illustrations surpass the text. There's much food for thought here, but a stronger story can be found in Watty Piper's The Little Engine that Could still the all-time classic for a lesson in persistence and self-image. Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, R.I.
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