Cute story about the perils of an unusual name.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what's in a name. Is your name unusual? If so, do you like it? Why? If your name is more common, do you prefer it that way?

Book details

Author:Kevin Henkes
Illustrator:Kevin Henkes
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:William Morrow
Publication date:January 1, 1999
Number of pages:30
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byrebma97 July 28, 2011

Cute story for kids

This was a nice book. It's about a mouse named Chrysanthemum who is upset because her classmates make fun of her name. It has good messages about accepting yourself for kids.
Kid, 12 years old November 3, 2009


this a perfect book for kids ages 3-6. they will love it!!!! it also teaches a great lesson to not care about what other people think about you and just trust who u are.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bymkalv February 26, 2009

Cute, but hollow.

Like all of Kevin Henkes books, the characters are mice, and there are lessons to be learned. This book is no exception. However, the plot is sort of thin. Then again, this book is aimed at young ones. Kids will love it.


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