Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Miss Little’s Gift

Douglas Wood
Illustrated By Jim Burke

Written in the first person, this is a memoir of the author’s experience from second grade and his struggle in learning to read. Douglas had just moved with his family from Kentucky to Iowa, so he had a Southern accent that set him apart from the other children. They thought he ‘talked funny’. On top of that, he was the youngest, the smallest, and the newest student in Miss Little’s class. To make things worse, Miss Little was asking him to read out-loud in class! Reading was a struggle for him … the words looked like “lines, blobs, and squiggles”. The one place he did not want to be was in school … he did not like school; he did not like sitting still, reading, and today, he did not like Miss Little. He wanted to be outside playing ball. Miss Little told him she would help him with reading – after school. The only time he had stayed after school before was because of getting into trouble. Learning to read did not sound like fun. He thought, ‘Rats!’ Miss Little was persistent, bringing books she thought he would enjoy. The first one was about an island that reminded him of an island he and his family and granddad used to go to. That caught his attention. Maybe reading wouldn’t be so bad. Throughout the seasons, autumn, winter, and spring, Miss Little was determined that he would read. Douglas realized what a gift Miss Little had given to him … her time, and care, even more than that, the gift of reading and books. At the end of the book, Douglas reveals why reading was such a struggle for him and how her help, and the help of others, helped him to succeed.

This book should be in every elementary school class and every home that has a child with the same struggle that Douglas has dealt with. Douglas has shown through perseverance and compassion from educators and family, that success is possible. Kudos, Douglas.

BIBLIO: 2009, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 – 7, Pre - Gr 2, $16.99
REVIEWER: Debby Willett
FORMAT: Picture Book
ISBN: 978-0-7636-1686-1

REVIEWED FOR: Children’s Literature, Online Version, 1/2510

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