cover image Emily's First 100 Days of School

Emily's First 100 Days of School

Rosemary Wells. Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0507-5

As Wells's (My Very First Mother Goose) sparkling, ambitious book opens, Emily--a childlike bunny who could easily be kin to Max and Ruby--attends her first day of school. Her teacher, a guinea pig named Miss Cribbage, explains that every morning the class will ""make a new number friend,"" and she promises a party when they reach 100 days. ""No one believes we will ever get to one hundred days,"" says Emily. Wells not only counts the intervening days, she finds a context to make each numeral meaningful. On day two, for example, Emily reports that Miss Cribbage teaches the song ""Tea for Two."" Along the way, readers observe Emily participate in her warm family life, gain and lose a friend and learn from Miss Cribbage's imaginative lessons. Humor comes naturally (e.g., day 89: ""`There are only eighty-nine calories in my tomato soup,' says Aunt Mim. `I can't see any,' says [Emily's little brother] Leo""). Remarkably, only a few entries feel contrived (Papa claims there are 51 reasons why Emily's big sister can't go into the city with her friends; Mama says she can find 56 ways to answer ""How Do I Love Thee?""). The spreads, varying from full-page art to panels, are crisp, colorful and winningly detailed, as Wells's fans have come to expect. Except for some production flaws--such as the misspelled ""ninteen"" and several stylistic inconsistencies--this oversize volume scores big. Ages 3-6. (May)