________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 6. . . .October 8, 2010

cover

One of Us.

Peggy Moss. Illustrated by Penny Weber.
Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House (Distributed in Canada by Fitzhenry & Whiteside), 2010.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-0-88448-322-9.

Subject Headings:
Individuality-Fiction.
Friendship-Fiction.
Schools-Fiction.
Moving, Household-Fiction.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Linda Ludke.

*** /4

Reviewed from f&g's.

   

excerpt:

When Roberta got to her classroom, she met Carmen.

"Sit here," Carmen said. "You are one of us."

Roberta sat.

At recess, Roberta ran toward the monkey bars.

"We don't play on the playground," Carmen said. "We sit here and talk."

Roberta smiled, "Thank you, but actually, I love the monkey bars." She met Rodney there, and Jasmine and Katie.

"You're one of us!" Jasmine said. "Sit with us at lunch."

 

Roberta James is the new kid at school. When she walks into the classroom wearing her hair straight up in a ponytail, a group of similarly coiffed girls pronounce, "You are one of us," and invite her to sit with them. Roberta likes to play at recess, much to the chagrin of her new friends who like to talk. The Monkey Bar Gang then affirm, "You are one of us Sit with us at lunch." This new friendship soon turns sour when Roberta arrives in the cafeteria carrying a flower lunchbox. She is disdainfully told, "Kids with flowers on their lunchboxes sit over there." When she starts to eat her "mayonnaise and coconut pita roll-up with raisins stuffed into the ends," her new circle of friends balk: "Kids who eat that kind of stuff sit over there." One glance at the "cowboy-boot wearing pita roll-up" table and Roberta knows she won't fit in there either. She resolutely sits by herself and ends up making real friends: a "trumpet-playing girl who likes baseball and car racing and ballet" and a boy who loves "building things and spicy food and origami and bowling."

internal art      Penny Weber's acrylic illustrations capture the mercurial nature of cliques. Welcoming, smiling expressions soon change to crossed arms and scowling faces. The detailed cafeteria and playground scenes show a diverse group of children.

      The struggle to fit in is also expressed by other characters. A Monkey Bar boy wistfully says, "I wish I had a flowered lunchbox" and is quickly reprimanded: "That's ridiculous," Katie said. "You're a boy." The issues and situations Roberta encounters will resonate with children. This is a good choice for starting a discussion about peer pressure and remaining true to oneself.

Recommended.

Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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