cover image Second Grade Holdout

Second Grade Holdout

Audrey Vernick, illus. by Matthew Cordell. Clarion, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-87681-1

The star of First Grade Dropout returns, and once again he has big reservations about proceeding to the next grade. It doesn’t help that his best friend Tyler’s older sisters are feeding him whoppers about what life as a second grader is like: “Every student has to be able to speak Russian perfectly before Thanksgiving! Also... you have to invent a substitute for water!! Or you fail!!!” Cordell’s scraggly cartooning expertly channels the narrator’s nervousness (and Tyler’s sisters’ mischievousness), and although Vernick ends on an encouraging note, she keeps the anxiety-fueled jokes coming until nearly the last page. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (July)