Jack's Talent
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Jack's Talent

by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
     
 

"You must be good at something," said Miss Lucinda. "Everyone has a special talent."

On the first day of school, Miss Lucinda asks the students to share their special talents. Francesca is a star soccer player, Matthew can catch huge fish with his grandpa, and Candace is an excellent artist. It seems that everyone has something to share. But Jack is

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Overview

"You must be good at something," said Miss Lucinda. "Everyone has a special talent."

On the first day of school, Miss Lucinda asks the students to share their special talents. Francesca is a star soccer player, Matthew can catch huge fish with his grandpa, and Candace is an excellent artist. It seems that everyone has something to share. But Jack is worried. He doesn't have any talent at all . . . or so he thinks.

Acrylic paintings that pop with energy and charm make this story by veteran author and illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler the perfect boost for any child who questions his or her abilities.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Warm illustrations of the enthusiastic students help make this a nice choice for those just starting school.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Children will find piquant details in the pictures when they return to it later on their own.” —The Horn Book

“Provide[s] a springboard for discussions.” —Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

When all of his classmates are able to name their special talents during first-day-of-school introductions, Jack's lack of a stand-out specialty makes him feel left out. With Alex good at building sand-castles, Candace good at drawing cats, and so on, a forlorn Jack declares, "I am not good at anything." His perceived want of a childhood forte is even reflected in his attire: he wears a telling white stripe across his shirt, while his fellow pupils all have motifs on their tops corresponding to their talents, e.g., Victoria-good at dog training-sports a picture of a white pooch on her red blouse. Cocca-Leffler (Clams All Year) employs her characteristic cartoon-styled characters. With their large, round heads, wide-set eyes and pencil-thin necks and limbs, they set a perky and cheerful tone. The teacher (who's good at gardening and wears flower earrings) winds up saving the day for Jack. After he rattles off all the children's names and talents ("I am not good at spelling like Michael... I am not good at bug catching like Olivia"), Miss Lucinda points out that he is good at remembering. Although the tale presents an almost-too-perfect scenario, it does provide a springboard for discussions about the many ways kids can think of themselves as talented. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2 On the first day of school, Miss Lucinda tells her students that she will use name tags to remember their names and would also like to know about their special talents. She tells them, "I plant flowers and watch them grow. I am good at gardening." Following her lead, the children introduce themselves and what they do best. The illustrations also follow a consistent design-a framed close-up picture of each child is overlaid on a full-spread illustration of that individual engaging in the specified activity. The class seems happy (and well-rounded) until it's Jack's turn. He is quiet for a long time before stating, "I am not good at anything." But as he speaks, comparing himself to the others, he shows that he is good at doing something, in fact, better even than Miss Lucinda-he remembers everyone's names and abilities. Drawn with large round heads, the colorfully clothed cartoon characters are filled with personality. The artwork is cheerful, and the brief, repetitive text reads aloud smoothly. Miss Lucinda and her friendly class will help welcome many students to a new school year.-Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ

Kirkus Reviews
It's the first day of school and the teacher, Miss Lucinda, has all of the children sit on the story rug so they can tell her their names and special talents; she wants to make name tags so that she can remember them. After she demonstrates by giving her name and talent (gardening), the class joins in. Michael's talent is spelling, and Francesca loves playing soccer. Matthew is good at fishing, and Candace enjoys drawing. Alex is a builder, Victoria trains dogs and Kristin likes to sing. Then it's Jack's turn. After a pause, he says that he isn't good at anything-not like the other members of the class, whom he lists by name and talent. Miss Lucinda instantly sees that Jack does indeed have a talent-remembering. With a smile on his face, Jack hands out the name tags without any mistakes and proudly proclaims his new talent, bringing this simple story to a satisfying close. Warm illustrations of the enthusiastic students help make this a nice choice for those just starting school. (Picture book. 4-6)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374336813
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
07/28/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
612,788
Product dimensions:
9.35(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.39(d)
Lexile:
AD230L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

MARYANN COCCA-LEFFLER has written and/or illustrated over forty books for children, including Isabella's Above-Ground Pool by Alice Mead. She lives in Amherst, New Hampshire.

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