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Children's LiteratureLike every school year this one has zoomed by and now—finally—it is the last day of school. Papers and projects have been taken home, books and school supplies are neatly stacked on classroom shelves. Everyone is talking about the day's special events: a picnic for fifth graders only, giant lollipops for kids with perfect attendance, and a longer recess. And in the backpacks of some of the students are farewell gifts to give to their teachers. Matthew Perez has a very special gift for his teacher, Mrs. Mallory. For the past year Matthew has been the "Official Timekeeper of Room 6," a job Mrs. Mallory assigned to Matt because he always knew the correct time, down to the exact minute and second. Matt wants to wait until the very end of the day, until it is the perfect time, to give Mrs. Mallory his special surprise. But now time is running out. The bell has rung. Kids are dashing out of school to the buses. Where is Mrs. Mallory? Matt can not find her anywhere. The bus engines are revving up. Will Matt have time to say thank you and good-bye? Will he have time to give Mrs. Mallory her perfect gift? The book and its illustrations capture all of the mixed emotions of the last day of school. 2006, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster, Ages 5 to 8.
—Anita Barnes Lowen