Synopses & Reviews
"You must be good at something," said Miss Lucinda. "Everyone has a special talent."
On the first day of school, Miss Lucinda asks the students to share their special talents. Francesca is a star soccer player, Matthew can catch huge fish with his grandpa, and Candace is an excellent artist. It seems that everyone has something to share. But Jack is worried. He doesn't have any talent at all . . . or so he thinks.
Acrylic paintings that pop with energy and charm make this story by veteran author and illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler the perfect boost for any child who questions his or her abilities.
"When all of his classmates are able to name their special talents during first-day-of-school introductions, Jack's lack of a stand-out specialty makes him feel left out. With Alex good at building sand-castles, Candace good at drawing cats, and so on, a forlorn Jack declares, 'I am not good at anything.' His perceived want of a childhood forte is even reflected in his attire: he wears a telling white stripe across his shirt, while his fellow pupils all have motifs on their tops corresponding to their talents, e.g., Victoria good at dog training sports a picture of a white pooch on her red blouse. Cocca-Leffler (Clams All Year) employs her characteristic cartoon-styled characters. With their large, round heads, wide-set eyes and pencil-thin necks and limbs, they set a perky and cheerful tone. The teacher (who's good at gardening and wears flower earrings) winds up saving the day for Jack. After he rattles off all the children's names and talents ('I am not good at spelling like Michael... I am not good at bug catching like Olivia'), Miss Lucinda points out that he is good at remembering. Although the tale presents an almost-too-perfect scenario, it does provide a springboard for discussions about the many ways kids can think of themselves as talented. Ages 4-8." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Warm illustrations of the enthusiastic students help make this a nice choice for those just starting school." —Kirkus Reviews
“Children will find piquant details in the pictures when they return to it later on their own.”—The Horn Book
"Provide[s] a springboard for discussions."—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
MARYANN COCCA-LEFFLER has written and/or illustrated over forty books for children, including Isabella's Above-Ground Pool by Alice Mead. She lives in Amherst, New Hampshire.