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Starting School

Starting School

by Johanna Hurwitz, Karen Dugan (Illustrator)

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Lucas Cott's young twin brothers, who stole the show in School Spirit, now take center stage in a show all their own. Rivalry abounds when Marcus and Marius are put into separate classes: Who has the best teacher? Who has the best class? And who is the biggest troublemaker in the Edison-Armstrong kindergarten? Fans of Johanna Hurwitz's Class Clown series will cheer


Lucas Cott's young twin brothers, who stole the show in School Spirit, now take center stage in a show all their own. Rivalry abounds when Marcus and Marius are put into separate classes: Who has the best teacher? Who has the best class? And who is the biggest troublemaker in the Edison-Armstrong kindergarten? Fans of Johanna Hurwitz's Class Clown series will cheer the twins' antics and applaud cameo appearances of friends from previous books.

Johanna Hurwitz lives in Great Neck, New York, and Wilmington, Vermont.

Karen Dugan, who illustrated Hopscotch Around the World under her maiden name, Karen Milone, is also the illustrator of Halmoni and the Picnic, by Sook Nyul Choi, which was a Skipping Stones Honor Book for 1994. She lives in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hurwitz (Class Clown; School Spirit) didn't stray far afield to find the heroes of this effervescent caper. Familiar to her many fans, Lucas Cott--now a sixth grader--appears in these pages, but the leading roles go to his five-year-old twin brothers, Marius and Marcus. On the first day of kindergarten, the precocious boys disrupt their respective classes: Marius leads a mouse hunt in his classroom for the critter Lucas has told him resides there, and Marcus hurls a deck of cards in the air to initiate a game of 52 Pick Up in his. Adding an unusual slant, Hurwitz periodically eavesdrops on the teachers' room, making readers privy to the exasperation of the duo's teachers. While Marius and Marcus play an ongoing game of one-upmanship to convince the other that his teacher is better, the two educators attempt to prove to the other that her student is worse. Just when this dual bickering begins to grate, Hurwitz comes up with a clever concluding twist: the teachers switch classes to experience the other's tribulations on the very day that the identical twins do the same. Hurwitz's focus on younger characters may extend her readership into lower grades, but there's a curious discrepancy here between the age of the protagonists and that of the targeted audience, who likely would rather read about peers or slightly older kids. Still, the author's fresh scenarios and sassy dialogue are as diverting as ever. Ages 7-up. (Aug.)
The ALAN Review - Judy A. Abbott
The identical twins, Marcus and Marius, first introduced in Hurwitz's earlier book, Class Clown, are beginning their schooling. Unlike their older brother, Lucas, the twins aren't trying to be the class clowns. Yet, neither of the twins' teachers, Mrs. Greenstein with 20 years of experience and Ms. Boscobel with two years of experience, can be convinced. Exasperated, the two teachers decide to trade classes for a morning to determine which of the twins is the greatest challenge. But the twins have a plan, too, for each is convinced that his teacher is the best. As you might guess, the great exchange occurs on the same day, creating even more havoc. The two teachers and the twins emerge from the exchange experience confident that each has the better situation. Pencil sketches accompanies each of the nine chapters in this easy-to-read, slim volume.
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
Identical twins Marcus and Marius Cott enter kindergarten much to their long-awaited delight. Their older brother has taught them well, and they are looking forward to all the fun they can have in school. The boys are smart and rambunctious and cause their teachers to grumble in the Teachers' Lounge. This is a comic tale of unrealistic expectations and mistaken identities and will be enjoyed by many readers on that level. Teachers will be delighted by this book's potential in illustrating point of view. Both boys have their chance to tell the story as do their teachers. Author Hurwitz can juggle this parade of narrators without losing the story thread because of her own writing mastery. Not her funniest work, nor her most memorable, but certainly an entertaining read for children. And potentially a valuable work for their teachers of writing as well.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Lucas Cott's twin brothers, Marcus and Marius, enter kindergarten in this beginning chapter book. Throughout the fall, their teachers compare notes, each believing that they have the worst-behaved twin in their class. While one child searches daily for nonexistent mice, the other shows his classmates how to play "52 pickup" with a deck of cards. These boys whom readers first met in School Spirit (1994) and School's Out (1991, both Morrow) really love kindergarten and don't intend to cause trouble, but their curiosity and exuberance inevitably give their teachers daily headaches. To settle their dispute over which boy is more difficult, the teachers switch classes for a morning, but, alas, that is also the morning the siblings decide to switch to see whose class is better. Although each teacher unknowingly has the same twin, each readily concedes that her colleague has the harder job. A few black-and-white line drawings illustrate the text. Though short on plot, this contemporary school story may evoke a few chuckles as all decide that the grass is not greener on the other side.-Janet M. Bair, Trumbull Library, CT
Cathryn M. Mercier
The younger twin brothers of Lucas Cott, star of the Class Clown series, devise antics of their own when they head off to separate kindergartens in the same school. To each other, Marcus and Marius don't look at all alike, but they cleverly take advantage of their classmates' and teachers' inability to distinguish between them to settle a good-natured sibling rivalry. To solve their contest about who has the better teacher-Marius with the veteran, carrot-chomping Mrs. Greenstein, or Marcus with the new, donut-eating Ms. Boscobel-the boys switch classrooms for the day. Hurwitz creates mischief of her own when she twists the plot so that the teachers plan a similar switch because they can't decide who has the more difficult-and intelligent-twin in her classroom. Is it the mouse-hunting Marius, who already knows all the books in the library corner, or is it the outspoken Marcus, who asks the principal, "When did you buy this school?" Ultimately, each of the four decides that his or her situation is the best and returns to the familiar place with new appreciation. Hurwitz includes chapters focused on the boys' conversations with each other, scenes in Mrs. Greenstein's and Ms. Boscobel's classrooms, and discussions between the two teachers to provide readers with different takes on all the farce. This is irony at its humorous best for young readers, who will delight in anticipating the inevitable chaos and celebrate the gratifying resolution.
--Horn Book

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.77(w) x 8.55(h) x 0.63(d)
590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 Years

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