Amy Schwartz, Author . HarperCollins/Tegen $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-050936-1

"When I started second grade," says Andrew, the redheaded boy who narrates this memoir, "I couldn't spell 'should.' " In Schwartz's (A Teeny Tiny Baby ) slow-moving, almost elegiac prose, Andrew considers all he had yet to learn before he entered Ms. Jones's class ("I couldn't subtract 348 from 411./ I couldn't write in cursive"), observes his new status as the owner of a prolific pet ("Would anyone like a hamster?," he asks his classmates on Pet Day), offers drawings and poems he's proud of ("Moths dream about sweaters/ Z dreams about becoming A…") and ponders questions to which he still does not know the answers ("How do you draw a lion walking?/ How do his legs go?"). He concludes with a quiet yet joyous catalogue of second-grade accomplishments ("I was mayor of the class./ I resolved conflicts"). Schwartz draws a warm web of relationships around Andrew, as when he recalls, in a dreamy flashback—tinted in pale blue—a time his sitter's son comforted him when no one else could: "Then Alex walked by with a cookie on his head./ I stopped crying." The modest figures, with their dot eyes and flat profiles, seem right for a document that reads a bit like a folk history. By conferring upon Andrew's experiences the dignity usually reserved for grownups, Schwartz introduces to young readers the idea that their memories are worth preserving. Ages 4-7. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/28/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Library Binding - 32 pages - 978-0-06-050937-8
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