Gracie Graves and the Kids from Room 402

Michael Paraskevas, Author, Betty Paraskevas, Author, Michael Paraskevas, Illustrator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $15 (0p) ISBN 978-0-15-200321-0
The mother-and-son co-creators of Junior Kroll profile 29 characters in this exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) portrait of an elementary school class. ``Gracie Graves had little silver curls,/ Fourteen boys and fourteen girls,'' begins the text, while a wayward drawing features a prim schoolteacher seated at a large wooden desk. Individual rhymes about Gracie's 28 pupils follow, and here the Paraskevases round up familiar targets for jokes-a kid who vomits after eating 16 Twinkies at the Halloween party; a boy who brings odiferous lunches; the girl who is a ``chubby-plus''; the math whiz whose clothes don't fit. Many poems seem like aborted starts to larger stories; almost every stanza has at least one awkward rhyme (``regret'' with ``something I et'' and ``bubble gum'' with ``gymnasium''); and classroom decorations or reading lists often advertise the Paraskevas' other titles. It's not high art, but the Paraskevases have a handle on grade-school grotesquerie. Perusing their volume is like reading some kooky stranger's yearbook. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
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