Elizabeti’s SchoolAuthor Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen Illustrated by Christy Hale ISBN 9781600602344 Binding Trade Paper Publisher Lee & Low Books Publication Date October 12, 2007 Size 216 x 241 mm
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It is Elizabeti's first day of school. She is so excited that she can hardly sit still while Mama braids her hair. She puts on her new uniform and feels her shiny new shoes. School must surely be a very special place!
Yet when Elizabeti arrives at school, she feels shy. She wishes she had stayed home instead. As the teacher tells the class what they will be learning, Elizabeti finds it hard to concentrate. She wonders if her sister Flora misses playing with her, and if Mama needs her help to clean the rice, and if her brother Obedi wants her to take him for a walk. She misses them all.
While Elizabeti learns a new game in the schoolyard and how to count in class, she is glad when the school day is over and she can take off her stiff school clothes and shoes. She is so happy that she decides she doesn't want to go back to school again.
But in the evening, as Elizabeti enjoys playing her new game with Mama, she discovers that she can use her new math skills to count-her new kittens!
Author Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen and artist Christy Hale team up for the third time to recreate the sweet innocence of Elizabeti. Readers are sure to share her joy and wonder as she discovers the pleasure of learning.
"Elizabeti is excited about her first day of school and her new clothes, but when faced with the noisy, busy schoolyard, she becomes reticent. A friend leads her into a game similar to jacks, and she is eager to try it. In the classroom, she has difficulty concentrating because of her homesickness. At recess, with the encouragement of an older girl, she enjoys dancing, and, back in the classroom, she easily masters the counting lesson. However, once she is home, she is convinced that she doesn't want to return to class. During the evening, Elizabeti so impresses her family with the knowledge and skills she's learned that she decides that although home is best, she will "...give school another try." This is the perfect story for sharing with young children, most of whom will understand the girl's bittersweet feelings. Her pride and sense of accomplishment in learning are a good lead-in for discussing the joy ad purpose of school. As in the other stories about Elizabeti, her family life is rich in love and warmth, although it is apparent that the family is very poor. The predominantly watercolor and mixed-media illustrations help convey all the texture of family life in a Tanzanian village, just as they did in ELIZBETI'S DOLL and MAMA ELIZABETI." -SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"In the beginning there was ELIZABETI'S DOLL (1998), then MAMA ELIZABETI (2000). Now, Stuve-Bodeen and Hale team up for a third installment in the series set in Tanzania. In this addition, Elizabeti is excited to start school. Hale's mixed-media illustrations picture the preparation: in the opening spread, Mama braids Elizabeti's hair; a trio of vignettes shows the girl as she tests out her new uniform, twirling her skirt and touching her shoes ('No more bare feet!' Elizabeti smiled. School must be a very special place'). But excitement soon leads to anxiety-and back again-as Elizabeti enters the schoolyard. At first Elizabeti pulls away from the action, relying on big sister Pendo for safe keeping; an invitation to join a game of machaura-American children will recognize the game as a variation of jacks-increases her comfort level. When Elizabeti goes home, however, her enthusiasm wanes. After all, her own shoes are much more comfortable than school shoes, her dress is softer and Moshi the cat has given birth to kittens right under Elizabeti's bed. It is this event that signals Elizabeti's change of heart, for she has learned in school how to count to five and uses her newfound skill to count the kittens. Soon, she shows off her knowledge of the alphabet and challenges her mother to a game of machaura. It's enough to make her realize school might not be so bad after all. Throughout, Stuve-Bodeen distills the essence of the school experience, perfectly capturing a child's emotional state and confirming the universality of first-day jitters. Accented with lively African-inspired paper, Hale's illustrations contain the texture of Tanzania. Together, the talented team offers up another winning peek at a life that's different but the same." -KIRKUS REVIEWS
CHRISTY HALE is the illustrator of both Elizabeti's Doll and Mama Elizabeti, as well as numerous other children's books. After living in New York City for 17 years, she recently returned to her native home of Palo Alto, California, with her family.