From School Library Journal
Grade 1–3—This autobiographical picture book chronicles the author's struggles in second grade. Smaller than everyone else, new in town, and speaking with an unfamiliar Southern accent, Wood also found reading to be a chore. Miss Little had him remain after school each day, and while he was at first resentful of the attention, her patience and careful choice of reading material eventually won him over. The story works as a tribute to those unsung teacher heroes whose dedication to their craft and native intuition about children have changed lives, although that aspect of the book may be appreciated more by adults than by youngsters. However, the book also works as a tribute to Golden MacDonald's (Margaret Wise Brown's) The Little Island
(Random, 1946). It is that gentle but quietly magical tale that Miss Little wisely used as a teaching tool, and that showed the boy that learning to read was worth his time because the book truly spoke to him. Burke's large, realistic oils, with their rich greens and blues, complement the story nicely. In an author's note, Wood discusses ADHD. While not quite as powerful as Patricia Polacco's Thank You, Mr. Falker
(Philomel, 1998), this book is a worthwhile addition to most collections.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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About the Author
Douglas Wood is the author of GRANDAD'S PRAYERS OF THE EARTH, a recipient of the Christopher Award, and the best-selling OLD TURTLE. He is also an artist, musician, naturalist, and wilderness guide. He lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Jim Burke has illustrated many celebrated picture books and is the author-illustrator of TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.