The Blue Ribbon Day
Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman
Entertaining Read ... Recommended ... 4.5 stars
Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O’Toole are best friends as they race down the hall of Brookhaven School. Tomorrow is a big day… it is the day to try out for Soccer. Both girls are so excited they cannot think. On Monday Carrie was glad she had taken a chance and tried out…that is until she read the sign listing the girls who made the team. Carrie’s name was not on the list. Mom’s words ‘Everybody’s a star, a brilliant creation, the trouble is find the right constellation’ do not offer Carrie much consolation. By morning Carrie was ready to go on with life. The science fair is only a week away. Carrie’s lab partner Lazlo has an idea and Carrie has one too. The pair set about producing a fun project, but will it work, and can they enter it into the fair. It worked, it worked! And, Ellie was the first to come see.
Writer Couric and Illustrator Priceman have collaborated to produce an excellent tool for children who may not yet feel themselves in their right constellation. A lesson we all must learn is that no one of us excels at all things. Sometimes our friends do well at something and we do well at another. Disappointment depicted by writer Couric is indisputable and real. Learning to deal with disappointment is something we must all learn.
Couric utilizes a worthy methodology to extend to youngsters a feasible technique for dealing with the ups and downs faced by all in life. Rather than Carrie bemoaning her misfortune she sheds a few tears while snuggled on Mom’s lap, dusts herself off and goes on. That is an excellent lesson for us all and the sooner we can learn it, the better equipped we are to face future disappointments and future successes. Ellie and Carrie remain friends as each excels at something she does well. The girls cheer one another and share both upset and joy.
As both a school teacher and a parent I like the fact that in the book ‘Mom’ offers sympathy and encouragement, she does not go screaming to the school to demand that Carrie be made part of the team. Mom helps restore her disappointed daughter’s self confidence but does not interfere with reality of life. Mom allows Carrie the comfort she needs and the encouragement to go on. There is a good lesson to be gleaned from this insouciant caper through the ups and downs of childhood. We each have special gifts, some we share with our friends, and some are unique to us. Sharing one another’s ventures helps makes us each a more rounded person as we develop an awareness and insight that different talents make life more interesting for us all. Boosting the self esteem of our friends through caring understanding is a good example set before both uncertain and self assured children alike in this charming little book.
Illustrations provided by Majorie Priceman fit to perfection the breezy prose set down by writer Couric in this sure to please book meant for children in primary to middle grades. Vocabulary used is ‘child friendly’, a bit beyond the younger children, but well within the scope of understanding for children from ages 4 –10. "The Blue Ribbon Day" is a book I would use in my own Kindergarten-First Grade classroom. A read to book for the younger set, read with some help for first and second graders and read alone for the third – fifth grade group.
"The Blue Ribbon Day" is a good addition for pleasure reading, classroom unit work on self esteem, the home and school library and for home schoolers seeking a good, sensible approach to guiding children toward both self acceptance and developing empathy for others.
Enjoyed the read. Happy to recommend.