cover image  Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School

Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School

Emily Jenkins, illus. by Pete Oswald. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-525-64471-2

Endearing from the get-go, this warm, funny early chapter book introduces Brooklynite Harry Bergen-Murphy on the eve of school’s opening day, as he laments the “too-short haircut” that will make him “the eariest kid in first grade, probably.” Also on his list of worries are strict teachers, rules, learning to read, mean kids, “scary classroom guinea pigs”—and making friends. His gently firm teacher helps the intermittently impulsive boy over some of these hurdles, building his confidence, squelching his penchant for whispering during class, and supporting his mission to discover what he can become an “expert” at. Harry’s intuitive mother coaches him about using his words to counter disappointment and anger, and his caring sister comforts him when he feels let down by friends—and slyly cures his fear of guinea pigs. In brief clips of Harry’s first 100 days, Jenkins (Toys Meet Snow) spotlights Harry’s adjustment to school, insightfully and entertainingly revealing his burgeoning self-reliance, tightening grasp on the meaning of friendship and family, and appreciation of the value of empathy and acceptance. Expressive color cartoons art by Oswald (The Bad Seed) amplify Harry’s earnestness and likability. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Kaplan, Elizabeth Kaplan Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (June)