STARRED REVIEW
August 2001

A Fine, Fine School

By Harry Bliss & Sharon Creech
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Rhyming, rhythmical and humorous describe award-winning author Sharon Creech's A Fine, Fine School. It is perfect for reading aloud to young children.

The cadence set by repetition will undoubtedly have young listeners anticipating the next refrain and reciting it even before the dialogue presents it. Children will associate easily with the story's characters and setting. The main character, Tillie, has a little brother and a dog named Beans. Like a typical child, she spends lots of time playing with her kid brother, teaching Beans to do tricks and, of course, attending school. Lessons for us all are often found in the simplest stories, and so it is with this delightful tale of a well-meaning but overly enthusiastic school principal. If five days of school are "fine," then seven days of school are better. If seven days of school are "fine," then adding in holidays and summertime will be even better. His intentions are commendable and his spirit laudable, but his judgment is flawed: if a little is good then surely much more is better. In his myopic determination for students to stay at school to learn, he overlooks the many lessons that life teaches outside the classroom through interaction with family and friends, allowing time to play and just dream. This humorous example of excess will give even the most compulsive person a chuckle. (Know any workaholics that could use a smile?)

A Fine, Fine School is illustrated beautifully by award-winning cartoonist Harry Bliss. His colorful pictures magically capture human nature through the initial disappointment and subsequent excitement seen on the children's faces as the story unfolds to its "fine, fine" conclusion. The background art cleverly supports the story's progression, emphasizing the absurdity of their predicament. Children will find this to be a "fun, fun" read and will reach for it again and again.

Author Sharon Creech has written several best-selling books: Walk Two Moons, winner of the Newbery Medal, The Wanderer, a Newbery Honor Book, Chasing Redbird, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Pleasing the Ghost, Bloomability and Fishing in the Air.

In addition to being an award-winning cartoonist, Harry Bliss is a cover artist for The New Yorker.

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A Fine, Fine School

A Fine, Fine School

By Harry Bliss & Sharon Creech
Joanna Cotler
ISBN 9780060277369

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