Bound To Stay Bound

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Booklist - 06/01/2015 With cartoonish, frenetic lines and messy blobs of color, the childlike style of Cordell’s illustrations make Vernick’s message clear: school life and friendship can be confusing. When a nameless first-grader makes an embarrassing misstep in class, dropping out of school seems like his only option. His big mistake? Accidentally calling his teacher “Mommy,” eliciting his classmates’ laughs. This boy, who looks a bit like Dennis the Menace but has nothing of his oblivious confidence, fills the pages with thought bubbles bursting with worries. Convinced he will never be able to go to school again (except maybe in disguise), he imagines casting a spell to “unsay” what was said, or building a machine to go back in time, or just staying at home until he is old enough to get a job. Finally, though, his friend Tyler makes a similar mistake, and the two realize it’s okay to learn to laugh at themselves. Many readers will recognize themselves in these pages. For collections where confidence-boosting books are popular. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 08/01/2015 PreS-Gr 1—After an embarrassing incident in class, a boy decides that he is a laughingstock and does not want to return to Lakeview Elementary. "I've been lots of things. Hungry. Four years old. Crazy bored. Soaking wet…. But the worst thing to be is what I am right now." Vernick builds the narrative tension masterfully as the narrator miserably considers ways he might hide from his shame. Maybe he could use magic? A time machine? Unfortunately, there is no getting around it. He will have to drop out of school. He accidentally called his teacher "Mommy." And everyone laughed, even his best friend. Sure, the narrator laughed last year when his best friend's Halloween costume fell off—"but that was FUNNY." Kids will revel in the humor even as they sympathize with the main character's agony. Cordell's scribbly lined ink and watercolor illustrations are marvelously expressive and heighten the humor and the pathos of the narrator's predicament. Teachers and parents will eagerly use this titles as a conversation opener about compassion. Children and adults alike will be comforted by the reminder of how fleeting even the worst embarrassments often are. VERDICT This winning picture book will be popular for its entertainment value, as well as for its potential to introduce ideas about empathy.—Rachel Anne Mencke, St. Matthew's Parish School, Pacific Palisades, CA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2015 “There is no way I can go back to Lakeview Elementary School tomorrow,” says our narrator. That’s because he did something stupid today, something that made his best friend, Tyler, laugh; something that made the whole class laugh. It’s the classic first-grade mistake: “I. Called. My. Teacher. MOMMY!!!” When he encounters Tyler at the soccer field, Tyler not only doesn’t snicker but is delighted to drop out too; his promise that the two can work on their “junk shots” (Tyler’s malapropism of “jump shots”) is an ice-breaking goof, and the pair guffaw together over their blunders. The amusingly brassy and exaggerated text is clever, deploying hyperbole to make a genuinely humiliating situation into something kids can chuckle at with sympathy. It also places the narrator’s experience of being laughed at in a larger context where everybody’s been the laugher as well as the laughee, both of which are common occurrences at the age where kids are excited about mastery but frequently miss the mark. Cordell’s line and watercolor illustrations have a rakish and Quentin Blake-ish charm; the protagonist is a humbled young sophisticate rather than a little kid, and the visual interpretations, such as the marching band full of musicians loudly guffawing at his gaffe, will ring emotionally true to youngsters who’ve experienced similar embarrassments. There’s obvious use potential as well as pleasure in this title that humorously teaches a crucial lesson: mistakes happen to everybody, and we survive. DS - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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