After decades of disinterest, backwoods Indian children in Alaska are amazed to find school learning offers real values, and even happiness, thanks to a teacher from England.
The new teacher wears pants! Frederika, a 10 year old Athapaskan native, remarks, "We sure never started school throwing books out before". When Miss Agnes produced new art supplies she said, "The first thing you must do is brighten this school up." Who cares about reading, writing and arithmetic? People have to fish, hunt & trap. What could little Jimmy Sam, who could already disassemble and restore engines, or deaf Bokko, learn in school? A lot!
"Olly" is a cat that sees a few opposites as he explores his neighborhood, and seems to have two homes; fin.
"Olly" explores his neighborhood, experiencing opposites: hot places & cold, soft spots and hard, fast dogs & slow, noisy areas and quiet, open windows and closed. He finds the messy Tubbs' home and is welcomed, and he finds the tidy Pyke's home and is welcomed. And so the story continues, ending only with a mystery. Where does he spend the night? This is a witty way to present opposites to children but there is no reward, no pleasure, in the story's conclusion.
Caillou gathers with family, and all the kids hunt for Easter eggs.
Caillou's Easter is a celebration of family. Caillou and his cousins eagerly search for Easter Eggs and then sit down to a happy family meal. The story presents a nice family event and sets a nice mood. There is no issue to be resolved; no need served.
A sentimental narrative of Arizona's life, and 57 years of teaching about visiting faraway places "in her mind" without having been there.
Arizona's life may be worth telling but, aside from hugs for students, her 57 years of teaching seems to have been about picturing rather than visiting faraway places. Arizona is a simple glimpse into a pioneer life, but what values and ideas did she fight for, how were students inspired? Like the faraway places she never knew, we never really get to know her. A few good illustrations help, a bit.
Franklin awaits the birth of his baby sister, and then she arrives. Her arrival is paralleled with the arrival of spring, but there is no conflict, i.e. no plot. All we have is a Naturalist progression of events. The Li'l Critter story The New Baby by Mercer Mayer is much better.
Little Critter makes excuses for his failings, shows disrespect for himself and others and experiences no consequences.
Here, Little Critter is more illustration than character. Unable to do as well as his friend he evades, saying, "I could if I really wanted to", or "I like to let my friend win". He is unconcerned that his bike is damaged by playing daredevil, and notes his bruised friend cries more. Finally, his sister prepares to squirt him as he watches TV. The disrespect for self and others displayed in this story is left unresolved.