Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Marshall Armstrong is New to our School


Marshall Armstrong is New to our School
by David Mackintosh
Abrams, 2011. Unpaged. Picture Book.

Being the new kid at school is a common theme of children's books, but in this story our narrator is worried about having to sit next to the new kid who is unusual, shall we say: Marshall Armstrong's things are different--a protractor, a compass, a pen with a nib, and he eats "space food" for lunch, for aluminum pouches. He always pays attention to the teacher and his shoelaces are straight back-and-forth instead of criss-crossed. When all the kids in the class are invited to Marshall's birthday party, not too many want to go but their mothers make them. What a nice surprise to discover that at Marshall's house you can run around indoors! Mrs. Marshall serves real lemonade with seeds. The kids swing on the monkey bars and rebuild Mr. Armstrong's train set. There is even a fireman's pole from the top door to the bottom--in case of emergencies like needing to answer the door fast, or go to the bathroom. Next time a new student comes to class, this young man tells Ms. Wright that "she should sit at the front with me and Marshall for the first few days, until she settles in." Marshall Armstrong . . . is a delightful, unpreachy book about enjoying one another's differences and not being afraid to be the new kid, or to welcome the new kid.

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