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Booklist 6/1/05 PreS-6r. 2. An endearing elephant is going to school for the first time. What will it be like? An unseen narrator informs children that the new student may be a bit shy. Someone should show him the location of the bathroom and where to put his lunch box. In succeeding spreads, the elephant is shown sharing, doing arts and crafts (rather messily), listening to stories, resting, and finally going home. Adults may think that this is a book to acclimate children to school-and, in a way, it is. But it is also just what it seems on the surface-a book about one particular student's new experiences. Smooth, off-white pages provide the background for watercolors depicting the elephant cavorting across the spreads. Post-it-style notes point out special likes and dislikes. Some of the pictures have the effect of collage; the elephant especially has some heft. The rest of the watercolor pictures are filled with action, but they don't have much energy. Best for teachers, who can use the story to remind their students how to help newbies. -Ilene
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2005 (Vol. 73, No. 12))
Cass, the quirky, self-confident girl who appeared in Pollet's earlier Nobody Was Here (2004), about prep school life in the mid-1980s, is trying in eighth grade to sort out who she really is: orphaned child; invincible girl; third wheel? She's discovering that at 13 things start clanging around in disharmonious earnest. The garrulous boy seated behind Cass in English class seems to voice some of this turmoil. Rod is bold and not at all perfect, but their friendship is a gift, and his abrupt departure challenges Cass to try to find her own missing pieces. Pollet steers a neat and relatively innocent course through the troubled and murky waters of middle school. Readers will recognize Cass's lack of perspective and experience as their own, and there are moments enough of genuine warmth and humor that they will care what happens to her. 2005, Orchard, 160p, $15.95. Category: Fiction. Ages 10 to 12. © 2005 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
PW 7/11/05 Ormerod has demonstrated her psychological astuteness with titles such as I Am Not Going to School Today! , and this quality shines through once again in this tale, aimed at allaying readers' first-day jitters. Posing as a manual to help children welcome an elephant student into their classroom, the book allows Ormerod to bolster and flatter youngsters' own sense of confidence. "When an elephant comes to school... he may be a bit shy at first," reads the text, as a boy and teacher greet the bashful pachyderm. The boy points out a hook in the cubby where the elephant can hang its lunchbox, and also the classroom's small toilet (this prompts the first of the book's many helpful hints, which appear in a box reminiscent of a Post-it note: "Show him the bathroom right away"). As the day proceeds, Ormerod depicts the elephant growing more exuberant and emotional than his young classmates, all of whom exude a soothing calm. But while the elephant covers himself with paint during arts and crafts time and gets a boo-boo ("When he falls, make a big fuss over him"), he is embraced by his peers and eventually settles into the rhythm of the classroom. The underlying message is that readers will as well. Reassuring in its simplicity and sensitivity--and funny to boot--this is a must-read for any family with a newly minted student. Ages 4-8. (July)
SLJ 8/05ORMEROD, Jan. When an Elephant Comes to School. illus. by author. unpaged. Scholastic/Orchard. 2005. Tr $16.95. ISBN 0-439-73967-5. LC 2004019797.
PreS-KElephant experiences a typical first day of school. He feels shy, but begins to relax as he makes friends and joins in the various activities. Standard components of a preschool day, such as arts and crafts and music, or even helping and quiet time, take on additional humor and whimsy as Elephant creates a shoe-box elep