cover image After Fifth Grade, the World!

After Fifth Grade, the World!

Claudia Mills, Glaudia Mills. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $13.95 (125pp) ISBN 978-0-02-767041-7

Heidi, 10, a fair-minded fifth grader, is only too anxious to take on the strict Mrs. Richardson, whose reputation as the meanest teacher at school seems well deserved. Her sarcasm slays Heidi's meek best friend Lynette, but Heidi--who loves doing math with a sharp #2 pencil--objects most to the requirement that they do their homework with cartridge pens--which leak and streak. Energetic and imaginative, Heidi takes her zeal to the limits, and with a few well-aimed bad deeds, promptly loses the support of her family, Lynette and a congenial school principal. Heidi's father helps her see that working with the world requires just as much resourcefulness as working against it. Mills chronicles the concerns of this age group with grace and aplomb, giving even their minor problems a just and weighty treatment, yet never slipping into easy solutions. Mrs. Richardson does not turn into a jolly teacher, nor does she get fired; when awards are handed out for writing realistically about the middle grades, Mills should be one of the first in line. Ages 8-12. (May)