From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4–From giant lollipops given to the kids with perfect attendance, last day treats and poems, and shirts that say Summer! to a vacation-home raffle for Rhoda the hamster, the students of Chapman Elementary–wiggly kindergartners to cool fifth graders–say good-bye to another school year. Third-grader Matthew Perez holds a special gift for his teacher until the final seconds of an unforgettable day. His wish to wait until the final bell creates a last flutter of missing-a-good-friend panic as he comes close to losing his chance to give the gift before his bus leaves. Varied sizes of colorful oil illustrations accompany the tale of Matts patient delivery of the perfect gift. True to a childs remembrance of final school days, each page recalls memorable moments for students and teachers.–Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 1-3. School's out for the summer, or almost. This paean to the last day of elementary school explores these bittersweet hours, from the clearing out of desks to making Last Day hats to wear in "a spur-of-the-moment parade." Though the lengthy text is broken up into short lines, it's not a poem. The sentimental narrative meanders, flashing back in time to develop the relationship between teacher Mrs. Mallory and third-grade student Matthew Perez, her special timekeeper who always resets the classroom's faulty clock and eventually becomes the focus of the story. Will Matt find Mrs. Mallory and deliver his special gift to her before it's time to get on the bus? Gustavson's colorful oil paintings (somewhat reminiscent of Georg Hallensleben's work) are appealing, though a few too many of them feature Matt furtively clutching his secret present. Readers will guess his surprise, but that won't ruin the suspense or tarnish the emotional ending when Matt finally unveils a working clock to his favorite teacher. Karin SnelsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved