Back to Front and Upside Down

Claire Alexander, Author
Claire Alexander. Eerdmans, $16 (26p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5414-8
Reviewed on: 06/25/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-86233-842-5
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The principal of Stan’s school is having a birthday, and Miss Catnip, Stan’s teacher, has a great thought: everyone is going to make a birthday card for Mr. Slippers. Stan, an adorable brown puppy with floppy ears and an expressive snout, immediately starts drawing an impressive picture—until he learns that Miss Catnip expects everyone to write a greeting as well. Writing is definitely not Stan’s strong suit: “[H]is letters came out back to front and upside down, and some didn’t look like letters at all! I can’t do this! Stan thought.” When Stan hits rock bottom—“Even his name was coming out in a muddle”—he becomes a tiny, disconsolate figure at his desk (his legs don’t even touch the ground), marooned in a black sea of despair. But good advice from his friend Jack (“We all have to ask for help sometimes”) and compassionate help ride to the rescue. It’s not a new idea, but Alexander (Small Florence, Piggy Pop Star) is such a caring and visually sumptuous storyteller that readers will happily travel down this road with her. Ages 4–7. (Aug.)
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