Jamaica and the Substitute Teacher
Jamaica and the Substitute Teacher
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Series: Jamaica   

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Annotation: Jamaica copies from a friend during a spelling test because she wants a perfect paper, but her substitute teacher Mrs. Duval helps her understand that she does not have to be perfect to be special.
Catalog Number: #4667284
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 1999
Edition Date: 1999
Illustrator: O'Brien, Anne Sibley,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-618-15242-3
ISBN 13: 978-0-618-15242-1
Dewey: E
LCCN: 98029754
Dimensions: 21 x 23 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
The latest touching picture book about Jamaica and her friend Brianna dramatizes a situation many children will relate to. Jamaica wants to impress the new substitute teacher, Mrs. Duval, and they get on just fine, until the spelling test when Jamaica copies a word from Brianna's paper. Overcome with guilt, Jamaica can't do anything, even in her favorite art class, until she owns up to the teacher, who assures Jamaica that you don't have to be perfect to be special in my class. O'Brien's full-page watercolor-and-pastel illustrations create the lively classroom setting with remarkable depth, moving from overviews of the kids at work to close-ups of Jamaica alone at her desk and then, finally, face-to-face with the smiling bespectacled teacher with her hundred braids. (Reviewed February 15, 1999)
Horn Book
Jamaica does her best to impress the substitute teacher, but she realizes she's forgotten to study for the spelling test--and so she copies. When she confesses, the teacher explains that she doesn't have to be perfect to be special. As in the other books about Jamaica, Havill treats the moral dilemmas of childhood with sensitivity and respect. Warmly colored illustrations depict a cheerful, diverse classroom and a sympathetic main character.
Kirkus Reviews
Jamaica (Jamaica and Brianna, 1993, etc.) is back in another a gentle story, and in for another moral dilemma. Her class has a calm, smiling substitute teacher, Mrs. Duval, who explains that while the regular teacher is absent, "I plan for us to work hard, but we'll have fun, too." Jamaica earns high praise for her reading aloud, for finding the hidden penguin, and for answering math puzzles, but when she gets to the spelling test, she can't remember how to spell "calf." Yielding to temptation, she looks at her friend's paper. The tests are corrected, and she gets 100%, but Jamaica knows she copied and doesn't turn the paper in, later confessing (unprompted) to her behavior. The teacher praises Jamaica's courage in admitting she cheated, and says, "You don't have to be perfect to be special in my class. All my students are special. I'm glad you're one of them." The softly colored pastel drawings show Jamaica, her range of emotions, appealing classmates, and the teacher's kindly nature. This sensitive treatment of the topic makes the book ideal for group discussion. (Picture book. 6-9)
School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 2-Jamaica and her classmates have a substitute teacher for the week. Mrs. Duval is warm, encouraging, and fun, and the children are eager to please her. When it's time for the spelling test, Jamaica realizes that she's forgotten to study and copies from a friend. Troubled, she confesses to Mrs. Duval, who reassures her that she doesn't have to be perfect to be special in her class. The full-color artwork depicts a modern classroom with a diverse student body. O'Brien focuses her attention and detail on the two main characters, bringing them visually to the front of the illustrations. A delightful story with a gentle message.-Alice DiNizo, Plainfield Public Schools, NJ Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Word Count: 807
Reading Level: 2.6
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.6 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 31124 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:2.2 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q18585
Lexile: AD480L

Jamaica likes the substitute teacher right away. Mrs. Duval is very nice, and she thinks of interesting things for the class to do. When the kids have to hunt for a hidden object, it's Jamaica who solves the clues. She figures out all the answers to the math puzzles, and Mrs. Duval praises her reading, too. But when it's time for the spelling test, Jamaica realizes that she is not prepared. Wanting so badly to please Mrs. Duval, she makes a poor decision. What will Mrs. Duval think of her now? In this new story about a favorite character, Juanita Havill and Anne Sibley O'Brien depict a small but significant crisis with tact and sensitivity.


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