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Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Very Fairy Princess Graduation Girl! Written by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton. Illustrated by Christine Davenier. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette. 2014. $$20.00 ages 4 and up

"Mommy says she's sure everything will be just fine, and besides, all my friends are moving up as well. Daddy says my sparkle will brighten ANY classroom. My brother, Stewart, says I'd be a princess even if I wore a paper bag on my head. This does NOT help."

A second miss for me and my aging brain, since graduation day has passed and summer is doing that very same thing. This lively story will most definitely work as children return to the classroom with worries about the upcoming year, the new teacher, and all that a new school year entails.

For Gerry, the thought of moving on comes with some concern:

"Next year, we'll be in a NEW classroom with a NEW teacher.
To be honest, I'm having a hard time finding my sparkle about this.
(Change is HARD...even for a fairy princess.)

There are so many reasons for loving where she has been all year: her teacher, the learning, the classroom pet. Since no one knows who the new teacher will be, Gerry is awash with fears. Her parents and brother continue to reassure. Just as they are leaving Miss Pym for the final time, she makes an announcement: the new teacher will be a MAN!

The fears and concerns escalate. Graduation Day dawns, Gerry and her classmates ready themselves, and the celebration begins. When their hats are thrown into the air, Gerry's crown goes with them. (Do you remember that she doesn't like to go anywhere without it?) Poor Gerry!

Imagine her surprise when the crown is returned, and she comes face to face with her new teacher...a man after her own heart! Gerry's voice remains strong and personal as she shares major life events with her fans. She knows herself well, shows her vulnerabilities while maintaining a self-assured demeanor, and is a worthy protagonist in this wonderful series.

In illustrations that are as charming and gentle as in the other books, Christine Davenier fills her pages with the joy of schoolchildren, the expressive delight and dread that Gerry feels as her very happy year comes to a close, and the warm family conversations shared together.

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