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Overview

Children love to learn and are always figuring things out about themselves and the world around them. And the more they know, the better equipped they are to handle the challenges of growing up.

Little Bill encourages children to value their family and friends, to feel good about themselves, and to learn to solve problems creatively.

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Overview

Children love to learn and are always figuring things out about themselves and the world around them. And the more they know, the better equipped they are to handle the challenges of growing up.

Little Bill encourages children to value their family and friends, to feel good about themselves, and to learn to solve problems creatively.

I hope young readers will see Little Bill as their friend and enjoy his real-life adventures.

Happy reading!

Bill Cosby

Little Bill makes valentines for the people that he loves.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The stakes couldn't be lower or the motives more confusing in this muddled first novel. Kelsey and her fellow students in AP English class are disappointed that their teacher, Mrs. Delaney, has gone from leading lively discussions on important books to assigning routine worksheets. Instead of talking to her (Why not? "It was a question Kelsey didn't want to answer"), they try passive resistance, refusing to do any work. Oddly, it takes only three days for all the students to be in danger of failing the course. What about college? Kelsey's guardian, her policeman brother, Russ, orders her to end the protest, and he confines her to the house, takes away the car and refuses to converse with her except via instant messages until she complies. Russ's emotional withdrawal upsets Kelsey, but in the end, Cobb seems to endorse his autocratic technique: "I simply noticed my withdrawal was making you squirm when nothing else worked," Russ says. Kelsey who by now has solved the problem by addressing the obvious fact that Mrs. Delaney's personal life is in crisis seems happy that his manipulations have taught her to curb her rebellious spirit. A budding romance goes nowhere and a mysterious envelope never gets opened, so even readers who stick this out to the end will find themselves frustrated. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
Cobb, an experienced teacher, creates a realistic school environment where a group of seniors take up a protest against their English teacher, which has unforeseen consequences for everyone. The story is narrated through the viewpoint of Kelsey Blackwell, a 17-year-old high school senior who is adjusting to the recent death of her father and indefinite hospitalization of her mother. Kelsey's AP English teacher Mrs. Delany had been a challenging and enthusiastic teacher the first semester, but now hands out worksheets and sits behind her desk. Kelsey agrees to go along with her classmates in carrying out a sit-in, refusing to do Mrs. Delany's work unless she teaches them the way she did the previous semester. The sit-in snowballs from a single class period to several days, with the students accumulating zero after zero and jeopardizing their graduation. Kelsey is torn between allegiance to her classmates in standing up for student rights and pressure from her oldest brother and guardian, Russ, to stand against her friends and end her protest. Through her struggle, Kelsey comes to understand herself and her relationships better, and realizes that her teacher is facing a struggle of her own. Cobb's main characters are multi-dimensional, and even supporting characters are developed enough so that readers can find themselves among this group of high school students. Themes of friendship, peer pressure, and family are woven throughout the main plot as Kelsey tries to find a graceful exit from a no-win situation. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, HarperCollins, 250p.,
— Michele Winship
VOYA
This book was great. Every kid can relate to Kelsey Gene and her problems. She wanted to try to make everybody happy without thinking about herself, and I know that happens. Everyone is always trying to do that. Because she was trying to make everyone happy, she forgot about what her feelings and her values were. I don't think, however, that a school board would go to such lengths as to suspend and even expel students after not very much of a big deal. Overall though, I really enjoyed this book, and I think other readers will too. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, HarperCollins, 256p. PLB $15.89, $5.95 pb. Ages 11 to 15. Reviewer: Abigail Seper, Teen Reviewer SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Kelsey Gene Blackwell and her classmates have begun a protest against their Advanced Placement English teacher, refusing to do anything in class until she resumes teaching the way she did the first half of the year. The teacher calls their bluff, and the standoff continues, causing disturbances in the school and homes of the students involved. Kelsey's older brother and legal guardian, Russ, a local policeman, is determined that the whole affair should come to an end immediately. Kelsey's father is recently deceased, her mother is institutionalized, and Russ demands that Kelsey live up to their father's expectations. Tension builds as several of the students try to call off the demonstration, and they discover the reason for their teacher's inattentive teaching style. This is an unlikely plot, but Cobb mixes in-depth characterization and a few twists with an intense family story to keep readers interested. Its real strength is the brother-sister relationship.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Kelsey Gene Blackwell's good standing in her high-school AP English class is in jeopardy. Her well-liked teacher, Mrs. Delaney, has stopped teaching. She comes to class, passes out worksheets, collects everything at the end of the period, and says little. Missing the good books, discussions, and challenging writing assignments, the students stage a protest-a quiet, polite refusal to do any work until Mrs. Delaney teaches again. When the zeros on papers begin adding up and her grade-point average plummets, Kelsey panics. How did she get into this? How does she get out? The mystery that pulls the reader along is why Mrs. Delaney has stopped teaching. Only later does Kelsey realize she joined the protest before talking with her teacher, before treating her like a human being she could communicate with. It's a promising premise, but there is too much going on here: the protest and its consequences; the mystery of Mrs. Delaney; the recent death of Kelsey's father from an aneurysm; her mother's consequent mental breakdown; and Kelsey's living on her own under the guardianship of a much older brother. A lot is being juggled, much of the story is told rather than allowed to unfold, and the adult perspective is too evident in the teenage narrator's voice. Ultimately, though, the good premise and the themes of family, peer pressure, independence, and communication will appeal to many teen readers. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689846120
  • Publisher: Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Little Bill Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.96 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Stirrings

“Kelsey Gene Blackwell! You're crazy if you go through with this.”

Kelsey stared at her friend Marti Lawrence and said nothing. Clearly this was an argument she was not going to win, so why bother?

“Russ'll kill you,” Marti pressed. “And so, for that matter, will Elliot.”

Kelsey blinked, trying to hide her frustration. Her brother Russell she could handle, even if he was her guardian and took his responsibilities way too seriously. She'd just have to make sure he never heard about today. But Ms. Elliot would freak if she found out one of her seniors, one of her starters, walked into English class and willfully chose to do absolutely nothing.

“She'll get in your face and make you run bases until you think -- ”

“Back off.” Kelsey exploded, forgetting that the argument was already lost. “These are my friends. What do you want me to do?”

Marti jumped on the opening. “They may be your friends, Kelsey Gene, but this isn't right. You can't up and decide one day to stop doing what the teacher asks. That's not how it works.”

“But Mrs. Delaney is wrong,” Kelsey insisted. “It's an advanced placement class, and time is running out. We've all signed up for the AP tests, and if we pass, we can skip freshman English next year. But how can we do that if we don't know sh -- ” Kelsey caught herself. No use getting Marti more riled. “The stuff?” she finished.

“Come on, KG. You've made As in English since kindergarten. You'll ace the test.”

“That's not the point.”

“Then what is?”

Kelsey inhaled deeply, calming herself. She didn't like Marti's attitude, but neitherdid she like the feeling of her own swelling temper.

“Look,” she said, forcing her tone to stay neutral, “it isn't fair. In the fall Mrs. Delaney was really great. She said the work we did was like the first year of college, and trust me, it was tough. We had forty-minute writings at least twice a week, and she was constantly challenging us to think. We were reading two books a month -- hard ones -- and the discussions were, well, great. Now all we get are work sheets, more and more work sheets. She hardly opens her mouth, and we certainly don't say anything because if we don't finish, she marks us down. I don't know why she's changed, but if she isn't going to teach, like she's paid to do, then why should we cooperate?”

“Because you are the student, and she is the teacher. You don't run the class. She does.”

“Well, we are changing all that today.” Kelsey spun away, ending her part of the conversation. Hanging around listening to someone overreact was only going to make her late. She still had to stop by her locker, get her books, her homework --

No, wait. Everyone in the class had agreed: Do no work; turn in no assignment until Mrs. Delaney started really teaching again.

“Then I don't want to hear it when Russ grounds you for life,” Marti called loudly to her back. “Not one word.”

Two passing sophomores, members of the junior varsity team, turned to stare, and Kelsey shook her head. Marti'd just have to get over it.

Like Russ? And Elliot?

Kelsey sighed. Yeah. They'd get over it, about as fast as Santa Claus came on December 26. She glanced at a hall clock and picked up her pace. She definitely didn't want to be the last one into class, not today. She wanted to be in place and settled when the protest began, following Drew's lead, because at lunch that was what they'd all agreed to do.

And who died and left him in charge? Kelsey asked herself. Did it matter?

Not anymore. The time to object had been thirty minutes ago, when the idea of the protest first began, not now, after everyone had agreed. Like it or not, she was committed.“Hey, girl! Hurry up.”

Ratasha Harris, a longtime friend and teammate, was waiting at the foot of the stairs. “You and Marti okay?”

Kelsey shrugged. What a silly question. Ratasha had been with them at lunch, and Marti certainly hadn't hidden her objection.

“What do you think about all this?” Kelsey asked, taking two steps at a time.

Ratasha followed close behind. “I think this class is going to be a trip, man.”

Kelsey opened her mouth to say something, anything, like maybe they were moving too fast, maybe they should think things out a bit more, but stopped when they stepped through the door. Drew, in his customary desk at the front of the room, was sitting, back erect, hands folded, eyes locked straight ahead. And, as agreed, the others sat equally unengaged. The protest had begun.

Quickly Kelsey took her seat at the back and assumed the same position, sitting bolt upright, hands folded in the middle of her desk. She found a spot on the board and let her eyes gently unfocus. All she wanted to do was survive for the next fifty-five minutes. Then, once Mrs. Delaney got the message that they wanted a change, it would be class as normal again.

At least that was what Kelsey hoped. But somewhere deep down an alarm was sounding, warning, insisting that she yield to her better judgment. And as it grew louder and louder, screaming for attention, Kelsey mentally reached out and shut it down.

After all, this was only one English class in the middle of a string of others. She always did her work. Always. What harm could possibly come from joining with a protest for just one day...

Happenings. Copyright © by Katie Cobb. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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