Saturday, May 16, 2015

First Grade, Here I Come (2015)

First Grade, Here I Come. Tony Johnson. Illustrated by David Walker. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I'm zooming off to first grade now. I need about five friends to play good games like hide-and-sneak and where-the-sidewalk-ends. Then all of us will crouch around like tigers on the prowl. We'll lash our tails and flash our eyes and clash our fangs and growl.

Premise/Plot. A boy shares his excitement about going to first grade. When the book begins, the boy thinks he NEEDS five friends in order to have a good year. By the end of the book, he decides that five isn't enough after all, he WANTS to be friends with everyone. The emphasis in this book is on play--imaginative play. It isn't on learning or sitting still or being obedient and following all the rules. Does the book say the boy has trouble not playing? It doesn't. But I imagine that anyone who LOVES to play that much, would struggle a bit--even if it's a tiny bit--when it was time to work and learn.

My thoughts: I didn't love the text. It was super descriptive, which could be a good thing. But. I am not sure the book flows well--narratively speaking--from page to page and scene to scene. It seemed a bit all over the place. Perhaps reflecting his personality?! That's certainly one way I could interpret it!!! I am not sure how I feel about this one.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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