Lilly doesn't want to be copied; Rex finds he enjoys dancing; and, both play baseball in their swim suits.
Three short stories for beginner readers: Copycat, where Lilly doesn't want Rex to do the same things as her in the pool; Let's Dance, in which Rex doesn't want to, but ends up enjoying a dance with Rose; and, Dress Up where Rex and Lilly want to play baseball on a rainy day, and hit upon the idea of wearing their swimsuits. The stories have some smart elements, but not much for the home shelf.
The cubs learn that a visit to the doctor is useful, not frightening.
Brother and Sister Bear are worried about going for a check up at the doctor's office. They aren't sick, but fear something might hurt. Before giving them their booster shots the doctor wisely points out that it hurts "Not nearly as much as biting your tongue or bumping your shin". They realize the doctor's poking and exploring is not so bad. This is a useful story for developing a child's judgment.
Eventually, Danziger's narration brings untidy second grader, Amber Brown, around to winning the tidy desk award.
Amber's Grade Two teacher invents "Deskarina" the desk fairy, who is similar to "Dentalina" the Tooth Fairy. Amber decides she wants Deskarina's Clean Desk Award and, after some false starts and a major room tidying at home, finally wins the ribbon. Orderliness as virtue is diminished when applied to the paltry goal of a tidy desk. Told in the present tense, the story is boringly narrated and padded with mundane events such as snack time.
An African boy works to earn a bike, pays for it, but his having earned it is then dismissed when the money is returned, converting his work into the 'higher' ideal of a charity effort.
A boy's mother pays him small amounts for helping her at the market. He wisely saves to buy a bicycle, so he can be even more helpful. Bicycles prove too expensive, so his kind 'godfather' sells the boy his own bike. Unfortunately, the man returns the money to the mother, who then returns it to the boy "for all his help", sabotaging the initial theme.
Chin Chiang fears performing the Dragon Dance, but does it anyway, with vague support from an old woman.
The Dragon Dance was to ensure local economic success –i.e. if poorly performed, the Great Dragon would ruin crops etc. We are told Chiang wanted to perform and practiced a lot. On parade day he inexplicably lost his purpose, stumbles during practice, loses confidence, and runs off. He tried to talk an old lady into taking his place, but at the parade, found he had to do it. This story's thoughts and actions do not integrate well.
After Muffy admits to cheating from Francine's test, Francine resumes their friendship.
It is Muffy who cheats on the math test, but Francine gets detention for a week. Properly, Francine stops talking to Muffy. A few days later the baseball team is losing without Francine, so Muffy finally owns up. Francine resumes their friendship, but Muffy had changed her mind for entirely the wrong reason.
Nick makes up a new word for "pen", and believes its wide acceptance 'proves' words are mere convention.
In grade five, Nick interprets “we decide new words” as meaning words are assigned to things arbitrarily. Believing he and his friends can make a new word, he invents “frindle” to replace “pen”. His perseverance gains media attention so widely that the word eventually appears in a dictionary. This story of word origins is as convincing as it is damaging to children. Frindle should only be used as an example of literary casuistry.
Not only did Daniel have to catch his stowaway cat, he had to face the principal.
Daniel's cat had stowed away in his school bag, so he hid her in his desk. Sure enough a paw poking through the inkwell hole, caught teacher's attention. Josephine escapes and a mildly fun chase ensues, until Daniel must face the school principal. Surprise, she hides a cat too.
A sticker book in which DW wants glasses, and Marc Brown has Arthur saying they are needed to correct mis-perceptions.
DW decides she wants glasses. Arthur explains that he needs glasses because things do not look right. Arthur describes his out of focus (myopia or hyperopia) or distorted (astigmatism) visual experience as "mis-perception". And that's all the story is about.
Four times Heather closes her eyes, swings and misses the Tee ball, but the fifth time, eyes closed she hits an out a the plate home run.
Heather faces embarrassment from her team and spectators when she misses four swings at the Tee ball. That she closes her eyes with each swing seems natural to the author, but it might explain why she misses so much. Instead, Heather again closes her eyes and hits it to the outfielders, who fall over themselves so much they miss it. Though touched 'out' at home, the coach (considerately?) calls it a home run. That's it: eye's closed and a phoney home run.