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Once Upon an Ordinary School Day


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An exhilarating new story about an inspirational teacher and the influence of music on the imagination.

About the Author

Colin McNaughton is one of Britain's leading creators of children's books. He lives in London with his wife, and they have two sons. Satoshi Kitamura was born in Tokyo and movedto London in 1980. He won the Mother Goose Award for Angry Arthur and is now one of the most distinguished illustrators in Britain.


PreS-Gr 2-An ordinary boy awakens to an ordinary school day. The story opens with drab scenes depicted in shades of gray that turn to Technicolor several pages in, with the arrival of a new teacher in a yellow suit. Little does the ordinary boy know that his indistinguishable routine is short lived, thanks to Mr. Gee. The creative-writing lesson begins with his instructions to listen to the music and let it make pictures in your head. Imaginations run wild; the text and illustrations become more expansive. Scenes fill with color and the words are more descriptive. The point of the story is obvious: the ordinary boy exudes, "that was the best lesson ever." Deftly rendered cartoon drawings convey the expressive gestures and transformation of the characters and scenes. Readers will giggle at the beginning and end as the young protagonist performs his daily bathroom routine before school and bed. An excellent selection to start the creative juices flowing or to enliven an ordinary day.-Marian Creamer, Children's Literature Alive, Portland, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Inspiring" * Sunday Times *
"A poetic rhapsody on the power of music." * Independent *
"Literally too wonderful for words." -- Jane Doonan * T.E.S. *

On a dull day washed in creamy shades of gray, an ordinary boy goes to school. Repetitive language sets the routine as he has an ordinary game of soccer with his ordinary friends until the ordinary school bell rang. But then, something quite out of the ordinary happened. Into the classroom struts a skinny, balding teacher carrying a phonograph; his ochre yellow suit and the blue-green records under his arm break into the heretofore gray background. (Publishing insiders will smile at a record cover picturing a stern composer and labeled Klaus Flugge. The U.K.'s Andersen Press, founded by Flugge, originally published this book.) The man exhorts the children to close your eyes, open your ears, and listen to the music, then asks them to write what the sound helps them imagine. In Kitamura's (Comic Adventures of Boots) full-bleed spreads, the boy's suitcoat goes from charcoal to blue, and bland duotones yield to a rush of sunlit color as he gets lost in the game the storytelling game. He dives with dolphins in a midnight blue sea, soars with white birds above patchwork green fields, and dreams extraordinary dreams. McNaughton (the Preston Pig books) describes a simple writing exercise, which doesn't work for all the students and begs the question of what constitutes creativity. The main attraction here is the Wizard of Oz shift from overcast hues to a lush palette: Kitamura's vibrant visuals transform what is, truth be told, an ordinary tale of inspiration. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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