cover image Never Spit on Your Shoes

Never Spit on Your Shoes

Denys Cazet / Author, Cazet / Author Orchard Books (NY) $16.9

The author/illustrator of Frosted Glass and A Fish in His Pocket again captures the humor and nuance of the early elementary years. Arnie arrives home exhausted. ``How was Mr. First Grader's first day?'' his mom inquires. And so this endearing book unfolds, with the conversation of Arnie and his mom (set off in a box) counterpointed with illustrations of how the day really progressed (with dialogue in cartoon-like balloons). The title reflects a class discussion during which the children--depicted as sweetly anthropomorphized animals--offer their own interpretations of school rules. Arnie's day is tough: mixing up the bathrooms, eating school lunch, tearfully watching the kindergarten bus leave, a tough P.E. class, falling asleep during story time. While the understated humor may have more direct appeal for parents and teachers, young readers will identify with the ``day in the life'' immediacy. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)