I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard

Jennifer K. Mann. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6514-2
In a world—in this case, Mrs. Benson’s elementary school classroom—where the neatniks and rule-followers get stars by their names on the blackboard, what’s an inveterate doodler and daydreamer like Rose to do? Fortunately, Mrs. Benson isn’t as autocratic and uncompromising as she seems: she gives Rose a much-needed pass on desk inspection day (“Close call, huh, Rosey? I’ll look at yours tomorrow”), and sees star-worthy creativity in an enormous thank-you card that Rose makes for a visiting painter (“Rose, you are a true artist, just like Mr. Sullivan”). Mann, in her second book as both author and illustrator, works with assurance as she puts her jittery ink line and layered washes of color to work in the service of both emotional vulnerability and schoolroom slapstick without missing a beat. On the heels of her similarly sensitive treatment of an outsider making it work in Two Speckled Eggs, Mann is well on her way to becoming a champion portrayer of those who color outside the lines or march to a different drum. Ages 5–8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/13/2015
Release date: 06/09/2015
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-0-7636-9299-5
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