Jill's Happy Un-Birthday

Marilyn Kaye, Author, Meredith Johnson, Illustrator
Marilyn Kaye, Author, Meredith Johnson, Illustrator Minstrel $3.5 (80p) ISBN 978-0-671-51026-8
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 80 pages - 978-1-4814-2885-9
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Veteran author Kaye (The Real Tooth Fairy) misfires with this disappointing, limp debut to the After-School Club series. A newcomer to her school, shy Jill is very nervous about her first day at the After-School Club. Yet despite an initial run-in with the stereotypical boy bully (who harangues Jill for sitting on his pillow), she decides that she's quite happy with the day-care program, especially its practice of making anyone celebrating a birthday king or queen for the day. Still, this incessant worrier flips out over minor dilemmas that most third-graders would take in stride: being served a snack of peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches when she's allergic to strawberries; and realizing (incredibly late in the game) that the After-School Club will not meet in the summer, which means that she won't be able to celebrate her July birthday there. After wading through descriptions of the club members' oddly babyish activities and bland dialogue, readers finally reach Kaye's predictable, saccharine conclusion. Here's hoping more happens in the series' second installment, A Valentine's Day Surprise, due in February. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-9. (Jan.)
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