Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+
Genre: Picture Books
What did you like about the book? This story is based on a special friendship the author had when she was a young girl. It is a story of acceptance, compassion, and being true to yourself. The story begins with a young girl named Trisha preparing to start the school year at a new school. Because she was very nervous, her face broke out in little red blotches. While in her first class at school, she ended up sitting with a very quiet girl named Ravanne and a kind boy named Thom. Unfortunately, this trio became known as “Her Ugliness”, “Cootie”, and “Sissy Boy”. Being ostracized from others at school allowed them to become the best of friends. They realized that no matter what, they would always have each other. One day, Thom reveals his secret wish–to be a ballet dancer. Through the encouragement of Ravanne and Trisha, Thom enters the talent show at school. During his performance, the students all laugh and make fun of his performance. But as he continues, their laughter soons turns into clapping and a standing ovation. Ravanne and Trish are very proud that Thom had the courage to follow his dreams.
The author’s note at the end of this book was very inspiring. Patricia Polacco explained that it has been over 50 years since her friend Thom performed at the school talent show. He went on to be the artistic director at the American School of Ballet in New York City. Her friend Ravanne was a successful designer in Paris and, of course, Patricia Polacco has written and illustrated children’s books. She encourages children to be themselves, hold their heads high, and reach for their dreams.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? This book would be perfect for children between the ages of six and nine years old. There is a bully that is fairly menacing and that might scare younger children.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, anyone who works with children between the ages of six and nine years old. This is a great tool for discussing several topics–bullying, being yourself, working toward your dreams, and friendship.
Where would you shelve it? Picture Books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: December 1, 2020