I Remember Miss Perry

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Overview

It’s his first day at a new school, and Stevie is scared.Who will he talk to at lunchtime? But his teacher says, "It is my fondest wish that you join me for lunch today, Stevie."And with that, a bad day becomes a good one. Miss Perry always has a new fondest wish—something new to read, sing, celebrate. But then an awful thing happens: Miss Perry dies in a car accident, and everything is suddenly sad and complicated.Yet Stevie and his classmates must find their way to happiness ...

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Overview

It’s his first day at a new school, and Stevie is scared.Who will he talk to at lunchtime? But his teacher says, "It is my fondest wish that you join me for lunch today, Stevie."And with that, a bad day becomes a good one. Miss Perry always has a new fondest wish—something new to read, sing, celebrate. But then an awful thing happens: Miss Perry dies in a car accident, and everything is suddenly sad and complicated.Yet Stevie and his classmates must find their way to happiness again. It would surely be Miss Perry’s fondest wish.

Pat Brisson and Stéphane Jorisch have created a poignant story, appropriate for children coping with a teacher’s death or in need of comfort after any loss. Readers of all ages will be affected by its depth and honesty, and buoyed by its capacity for joy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brisson (Mama Loves Me from Away) sensitively explores the effects of an elementary teacher's unexpected death and the inspirational legacy she leaves her young students. Stevie, a boy in Miss Perry's room, narrates his recollections of the fun-loving teacher who "smiled until her eyes disappeared." On his first day, she told him, "It is my fondest wish that you join me for lunch today, Stevie." He soon discovers that she "had a new fondest wish every day." Softly hued pen-and-ink and gouache illustrations depict the cheerful, youthful instructor having fun with her students as they prepare to plant daffodils around the flagpole or serenade the principal ("It is my fondest wish that we buzz down to her office and sing her the birthday song," Miss Perry says). In a scene that could serve as a model for similar situations, Brisson depicts the thoughtful way the principal and guidance counselor break the news to the students when a car accident suddenly ends Miss Perry's life. The students share their memories of her, and also imagine what Miss Perry's fondest wish would be now ("For us to not be too sad"). Jorisch's (Suki's Kimono) artwork keeps the poignant tale from becoming maudlin. Sunny colors and realistic situations touched with whimsy maintains an upbeat tone (e.g., a spread depicting the children's reminiscences features playful vignettes of bees and flowers with smiling faces). Brisson's tenderhearted tale offers a welcome opening for discussion of a difficult subject. Ages 4-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Wendy Glenn
On Stevie's first day in a new school, he meets his teacher, Miss Perry. To quell his nerves, she tells him it is her fondest wish to eat lunch with him that day. This is the first of many fondest wishes that Miss Perry expresses to the young children in her care. On one day, her fondest wish is that they learn to square dance. On another, she wants nothing more than for them to help her plant flower bulbs around the flagpole. On still another, she hopes they will help her wish the school principal a very happy birthday by pretending to be bees buzzing the birthday song. One day in the spring, however, Miss Perry does not come to school. The principal teaches the class that morning. When Stevie and his classmates return to the classroom after lunch, they are surprised to find their parents in attendance. They soon learn that Miss Perry has been in a fatal car accident and will not be returning to school ever again. A school counselor provides packs of tissues to catch surprise tears, and time is spent sharing stories about Miss Perry and the fond wishes she had for her students. The book takes on a difficult topic and handles it with care and grace. Stevie's voice captures with innocence and increasing awareness the realities of death and will surely give students suffering their own losses a story from which they can learn and grow. The illustrations, created with pen and ink, watercolor, and gouache, feature diverse students sharing in a difficult part of the human condition.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A poignant story about loss. Stevie's teacher finds ways to make him feel at home during his first day at a new school. Her "fondest wish," she says, is that they have lunch together, evoking for him the sense of speaking with a fairy-tale princess. The young narrator soon discovers that Miss Perry has a "new fondest wish" daily, such as for the class to become quiet so that she can read from James and the Giant Peach or for the students to plant tulips around the school flagpole. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes, and news arrives of a car crash that has taken her life. A counselor helps the children talk about their memories, which cushions their loss by bringing back the joy of Miss Perry's fondest wishes and the way that "her eyes disappeared when she smiled." The delicate pen-and-ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations reflect the varied emotions evoked by this treasured individual. This title fills a need for books that encourage healthy emotional expression. A first purchase.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Young Stevie and his classmates experience human loss for the first time when a beloved teacher dies. Stevie's very nervous on his first day at a new school; his teacher Miss Perry takes him under her wing, explaining that she understands because she's a new teacher. Her sense of fun and adventure excites the entire class; they put on makeshift bee costumes to surprise the principal on her birthday (they're a "swarm" of well-wishers). One day, Miss Perry doesn't show up for school. In the afternoon, after calling all the parents to join their children in their classroom, the principal breaks the news of Miss Perry's death in a car accident. The last half of the story charts the children's journey to acceptance, through puzzlement and sorrow and an appreciation of the joy Miss Perry brought to their lives. Jorish's subtle watercolors effectively evoke the emotions of the characters without overpowering the text. A tasteful and valuable contribution. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803729810
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/20/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Pat Brisson lives in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2008

    Future Teacher review

    Miss Perry, a very influential teacher, is a character that many students can relate to. The story covers a very emotional subject. If it is going to be read in a classroom, students need to be prepared. Children have a tough time dealing with death, if the topic arises in the school environment, this book would be a good one to read. I do not think it needs to be read just in an everyday situation because the topic of death is hard for many students to deal with.

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