Mr. Graham's fifth grade class is horrified to learn that their favorite teacher's absence is because of his wife's sudden and tragic death. Each student writes a letter of sympathy, but one group of girls decides to help Mr. Graham and his two young children by volunteering to do chores one afternoon a week. Despite the girls' best intentions, plans go humorously awry, creating more chaos for their goodnatured teacher. Woven throughout the girls' plans are subtle rifts and alterations in friendships and families. Best friends Trina and Susan find themselves at odds over Susan's new interest in boys, while in Trina's household the loss of the family farm brings about a new career for her mother. Wolitzer manages to balance several storylines and maintain a cast of true-to-life characters, though none is developed in any great depth. This first book of a trilogy will engage readers' interests by appealing to familiar problems, but the formulaic style does little to distinguish it from similar offerings. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993 Release date: 03/01/1993 Genre: Children's
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