A Letter to My Teacher

illus. by Nancy Carpenter. 40p. ebook available. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780375868450.
Gr 1–3—A young woman reflects on her experiences as an energetic, impatient child by writing a letter to the teacher who nevertheless managed to make second grade "the best year ever." As the narrator's childhood antics are disclosed, adult readers will appreciate the teacher's ability to channel the girl's curiosity into her learning. Young readers may find the book a bit too sentimental, however, since the narrator's exploits lack the ingenuity of her teacher's attempts to reel her in, and fade in comparison with those of some of her wayward fictional counterparts. Each vignette from the year is illustrated in muted pen-and-ink with splashes of color, and the characters' expressions evoke their emotions as they navigate what it means to teach and to learn. The tale will resonate with those looking for an intimate portrayal of the relationship between student and teacher, who will appreciate the light it shines on the ways in which teachers can impact their students long after the single year they spend together is over.
VERDICT This tender story of a recalcitrant student and the teacher she never forgot will likely touch the hearts of adults, but its nostalgic retrospective narration will leave many children unmoved.

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