Grades 2 - 4 / Ages 7 - 9.
Scholastic's "Shooting Star" series provide an excellent introduction to chapter novels for students in approximately grades two to four. In Worm Pie, Tara's third grade class is faced with having a substitute teacher when their regular teacher, Mrs. Jay, leaves to have a baby. Tara is upset because she had been very fond of Mrs. Jay.
The new teacher was a man. A yellow ball of frizz sat on top of his head. His eyeglasses had yellow lenses in the shape of hexagons. I couldn't stop staring because his eyes looked like two bees buzzing around in a honeycomb. And that's not all; his shirt had pictures of orange birds flying into each other.
It didn't take long for me to figure out that the new teacher was a GEEK!
I sat at my desk hoping Mr. Stanley would walk out the door and disappear forever. But that's not what happened. Instead, he smiled and said, "Hi, gang."
No one answered.
That's because he was supposed to say, "Good morning, class."
"Before we begin," he said, "are there any questions?"
Jason Miles waved his hand in the air.
"Have you ever counted all the freckles on your face?"
"No, "Mr. Stanley said. "But thank you for noticing them. I'm quite proud of my freckles. I think they make a person's face look all dressed up."
Cory looked up and smiled. He had freckles all over his face too. (page 3-5)
Gradually, Tara gets used to Mr. Stanley, but she soon faces another problem. Tara is interested in bugs while her best friend, Tam Ho, who was born in Vietnam, hates them. When Tara finds an earthworm on the way to school, she and Tam have a terrible quarrel, and Tam refuses to make up. In the past, every time Tam had invited Tara for a meal, she had made an excuse because she was afraid Mrs. Ho would serve weird things like sheep's eyes and chocolate covered ants. Finally Tam's mother invites Tara to dinner to bring the two girls back together. Tara accepts because she will do anything to get Tam back as her best friend.
This is an excellent beginning novel which deals in a humorous way with accepting people's differences.
Irene Gordon, a teacher-librarian who retired at the end of June after spending the last 14 years working in the library at Westdale Junior High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, presently co-edits the Manitoba School Library Association Journal.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Manitoba Library Association
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - OCTOBER 3, 1997.
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