Second Grade Holdout

illus. by Matthew Cordell. 32p. HMH. Jul. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544876811.
Gr 1–3—The protagonist of this story is not looking forward to entering second grade. He is sure that he won't get to have fun anymore, his teacher will be mean, and he won't be with his friend Tyler. All of the signs seem to indicate that the new school year will be catastrophic. He starts to devise a plan: Maybe he could repeat first grade! This plan becomes even more appealing when Tyler's older sisters begin to taunt him with horror stories about their own second grade experiences. They taunt Tyler as well, and the two friends bemoan their fate together. Eventually, they realize that they are being tricked and that second grade might not be so terrible after all. The story closes with the two boys giving each other a high-five, confident that if they can see through the schemes of Tyler's sisters they are smart enough to conquer second grade. This is a witty and fun story that will resonate with any child nervous about moving up a grade. Caregivers will find it particularly useful as a springboard to discuss school-related fears and anxieties with their children. Cordell's colorful cartoon illustrations make the topic seem less scary, and will appeal to youngsters.
VERDICT An excellent addition to library collections during the back-to-school season.

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