I Was a Fifth-Grade Zebra: 9

Nancy J. Hopper, Author Dial Books $13.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8037-1420-5
Chelsea can't believe that she has to wear a dress and find a boy to accompany her to a classmate's birthday party. A budding scientist and poet, she has never fit in perfectly with her peers, and her outspoken disdain of a mixed-gender party irritates her critics still further. Negotiations to find a suitable escort backfire when her blind date--chosen by a well-meaning older sister--substitutes his own younger brother, a third-grader who releases frogs onto the birthday cake. Chelsea's blunders and her tensions with some of the girls in the class, realistically depicted, typify the problems associated with her age group. The story is narrated in Chelsea's straightforward no-nonsense voice, but some of the events don't quite jell. Chelsea, for example, does an about-face on the subject of boys after being teased in public by a male classmate. With more fleshing out, incidents like this could have enriched the story and eliminated some confusing inconsistencies. Why, after the disastrous episode with her much-younger date, is Chelsea anxious for him to invite her to go frog-chasing? These glitches are minor, but they mar an otherwise strong story that offers a hopeful message about remaining an individual. Ages 8-11. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1993
Release date: 07/01/1993
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 136 pages - 978-0-606-07690-6
Hardcover - 136 pages - 978-0-8037-1595-0
Paperback - 136 pages - 978-0-14-037063-8
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