Miss Little’s Gift

Douglas Wood, Author, Jim Burke, Illustrator , illus. by Jim Burke. Candlewick $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-1686-1

This tribute to the author’s second-grade teacher will resonate with those who struggle with reading. “I didn’t like school. I didn’t like sitting still. I didn’t like reading. And I didn’t like Miss Little.” Wood’s (Nothing to Do ) story takes place during one of his numerous after-school sessions with Miss Little, who worked tirelessly “to help me learn how much fun reading could be.” Just as an unfocused student strays from a task, diversions from the classroom setting flesh out some of Wood’s life outside of school, e.g., his playground troubles or trips to a Minnesota lake. Burke (Naming Liberty ) keeps his realistic oil paintings fresh with various perspectives, giving readers a bird’s-eye view of the classroom’s checkerboard floor or Wood’s view of the book he’s laboring to read, The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown. A poignant final scene describes the author sending a copy of his first book, Old Turtle , to an elderly Miss Little, shown smiling and clutching it to her chest. Endnotes discuss how the author copes with his diagnosis of ADHD. Ages 4–7. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/10/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
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