Monday, July 09, 2007

Just Grace

Just Grace
Written and illustrated by Charise Mericle Harper
Houghton Mifflin Company
ISBN: 0618646426

We love feisty characters. We love feisty female characters. But what we really love are feisty, female, funny characters, and nine year-old Just Grace is just that.

Blessed with "empathy superpowers," Grace cooks up a creative solution to help out her neighbor, Mrs. Luther, the strange and scary big kid teacher who lives next door. But when Grace's plan backfires, she's forced to team up with her least favorite person in the whole world, Sammy Stringer. Sammy is the kind of boy who enjoys lion poop and who manages to get every piece of food stuck in his teeth. (There's one in every class!) The two third-graders arm themselves with oven mitts and go on a quest to find Mrs. Luther's cat Crinkles. In the end, we see that Grace has changed her mind about the poop-loving Sammy Stringer when she wonders, "Maybe he's got magnetic teeth. Maybe that's why food gets stuck there." (We would like to nominate those two lines for Best Last Lines Award, if there is such an award, which there should be.)

Parents and teachers will love the subtle lesson about empathy and kindness. Kids will love the strong, funny voice and quirky illustrations. We happen to love the illustration of the squirrel in running shoes. There's something for everyone here!

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