A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that art and story mesh perfectly in this delightful tale, though the ending is a bit too coincidental. Clever writing, such as "Chrysanthemum wilted," adds to the overall appeal.
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What's the story?
Hooray! said Chrysanthemum. \"School!\" Her joy is short-lived, however, as students tease her about her name. Reassured by her parents that she is loved and that her name is perfect, Chrysanthemum returns to school the next day, to more teasing. Engaging illustrations captivate young readers, who will be eager to know the outcome.
Is it any good?
Children will feel Chrysanthemum's despair, and her hope that each day will be better, and author Kevin Henkes takes care that the teasing students are won over, not put down. Parents and perceptive children will enjoy Henkes' wordplay. Her father is a walking thesaurus, sprinkling synonyms that follow her mother's adjectives: When her mother says, "Your name is beautiful," he follows with, "And precious and priceless and fascinating and winsome."
Watercolor-and-ink illustrations capture Chrysanthemum's moods and the superior attitude of the other mice children at school. One page contains 16 portraits and the names of each of the students written in their individual handwriting. Another shows the worried father surreptitiously reading a book titled The Inner Mouse, Volume One: Childhood Anxiety.