On the first day of school, Emily's teacher, Miss Cribbage, tells the class that they will make a new number friend every day for the first 100 days of school. Everyone will have a number book in which to write numerical discoveries and musings. Eager Emily dives right into the project. On the second day of school, Miss Cribbage teaches a song called "Tea for Two." On day three, Emily writes about her school bus, No. 3. In square dancing, Emily learns that there are four corners to a dancing square. She picks five different vegetables from her garden for her father to use in his tomato-zucchini-pepper-carrot-eggplant soup. From day one to day 100, Emily and her classmates expand their creative and mathematical skills as they immerse themselves in the exciting early days of school.
Rosemary Wells, beloved author and illustrator of dozens of picture books, and creator of the mischievous Max character (Max's First Word, Max's Chocolate Chicken, and others), has accomplished a remarkable feat: finding 100 days' worth of entertaining "number friends." The 100th day of school can be an important milestone--and a great learning tool! Emily is an adorable Wellsian bunny, complete with pudgy cheeks and sweet little jumpers and overalls. For more excellent 100-day picture books, try Margery Cuyler's 100th Day Worries and Joseph Slate's Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
As Wells's (My Very First Mother Goose) sparkling, ambitious book opens, EmilyAa childlike bunny who could easily be kin to Max and RubyAattends 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 flawsAsuch as the misspelled "ninteen" and several stylistic inconsistenciesAthis oversize volume scores big. Ages 3-6. (May)
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