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Once Upon an Ordinary School Day
     

Once Upon an Ordinary School Day

by Colin McNaughton, Satoshi Kitamura (Illustrator)
 

A celebration of extraordinary teachers!

The boy's breakfast is ordinary, his walk to school is ordinary, even his thoughts are ordinary. But when he goes to his classroom and sits down at his desk, his day begins to change - a new teacher, Mr. Gee, bursts into the classroom with an extraordinary idea that challenges all the children to use their

Overview

A celebration of extraordinary teachers!

The boy's breakfast is ordinary, his walk to school is ordinary, even his thoughts are ordinary. But when he goes to his classroom and sits down at his desk, his day begins to change - a new teacher, Mr. Gee, bursts into the classroom with an extraordinary idea that challenges all the children to use their imagination. Suddenly an ordinary day is turned topsy-turvy, and the boy is inspired in a way that will change him forever.

The rollicking words and pictures celebrate the unexpected in this tribute to great teachers and students everywhere.

Once Upon an Ordinary School Day is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Pays tribute to inspirational teachers everywhere with a tale of an 'ordinary' child whose dormant imagination blooms in the classroom. Young readers (or teachers, for that matter) wondering what school is really for may get a clue here.” —Kirkus Reviews

“As a parable of the awakening imagination, the book takes flight, just like the birds soaring into the blue on the endpapers.” —The Horn Book

“An excellent selection to start the creative juices flowing or to enliven an ordinary day.” —School Library Journal

“This story is a good read-aloud.” —Reading Teacher

Publishers Weekly
On a dull day washed in creamy shades of gray, an ordinary boy goes to school. Repetitive language sets the routine as he has an ordinary game of soccer with his ordinary friends until the ordinary school bell rang. But then, something quite out of the ordinary happened. Into the classroom struts a skinny, balding teacher carrying a phonograph; his ochre yellow suit and the blue-green records under his arm break into the heretofore gray background. (Publishing insiders will smile at a record cover picturing a stern composer and labeled Klaus Flugge. The U.K.'s Andersen Press, founded by Flugge, originally published this book.) The man exhorts the children to close your eyes, open your ears, and listen to the music, then asks them to write what the sound helps them imagine. In Kitamura's (Comic Adventures of Boots) full-bleed spreads, the boy's suitcoat goes from charcoal to blue, and bland duotones yield to a rush of sunlit color as he gets lost in the game the storytelling game. He dives with dolphins in a midnight blue sea, soars with white birds above patchwork green fields, and dreams extraordinary dreams. McNaughton (the Preston Pig books) describes a simple writing exercise, which doesn't work for all the students and begs the question of what constitutes creativity. The main attraction here is the Wizard of Oz shift from overcast hues to a lush palette: Kitamura's vibrant visuals transform what is, truth be told, an ordinary tale of inspiration. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-An ordinary boy awakens to an ordinary school day. The story opens with drab scenes depicted in shades of gray that turn to Technicolor several pages in, with the arrival of a new teacher in a yellow suit. Little does the ordinary boy know that his indistinguishable routine is short lived, thanks to Mr. Gee. The creative-writing lesson begins with his instructions to listen to the music and let it make pictures in your head. Imaginations run wild; the text and illustrations become more expansive. Scenes fill with color and the words are more descriptive. The point of the story is obvious: the ordinary boy exudes, "that was the best lesson ever." Deftly rendered cartoon drawings convey the expressive gestures and transformation of the characters and scenes. Readers will giggle at the beginning and end as the young protagonist performs his daily bathroom routine before school and bed. An excellent selection to start the creative juices flowing or to enliven an ordinary day.-Marian Creamer, Children's Literature Alive, Portland, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This import pays tribute to inspirational teachers everywhere with a tale of an "ordinary" child whose dormant imagination blooms in the classroom. When a new teacher strides in, juggling a gramophone and an armload of records-and bringing color to the previously all-sepia illustrations-the class reacts skeptically at first. But his invitation to let the music make mental pictures falls on variously fertile ground. While some children fall asleep or read comics, and others make up typical adventure tales, the "ordinary" child's drab, routine world bursts into a series of wordless spreads. There he visits teeming tropical climes on elephant-back, dives through schools of exotic fish, soars with the birds and that night (having properly thanked the teacher after school and heard the exciting words, "See you tomorrow") dreams "extraordinary" dreams. Young readers (or teachers, for that matter) wondering what school is really for may get a clue here. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374356347
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
03/10/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.08(w) x 10.89(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Colin McNaughton has written and illustrated over sixty children's books. He lives in London, England.

Satoshi Kitamura is the prize-winning author and illustrator of many books for children, including Me and My Cat? and, most recently, Comic Adventures of Boots. He lives in London, England.

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