Book’s pint-sized protagonist wishes school would never end

Watching your favorite TV show.

A mid-afternoon snack. Visiting with Grandpa. Taking a ride on your bike and playing with friends. Those are fun things to do and you really hate to quit doing them. But as Grandma says, all good things must come to an end.

Or do they? In the new book “Lizzie and the Last Day of School” by Trinka Hakes Noble, illustrated by Kris Aro McLeod, an ending is just a beginning.

On the first day of nursery school, Lizzie decided that she loved school. She just loved everything about it. Kindergarten was even better, but when it was over, Lizzie was sad. She missed kindergarten so much that she made her little sister Lulu play “school” all summer long.

But then summer ended and Lizzie became “a big first grader!” She got a new pencil case, a new backpack and even new crayons to take to her new class. She also got a new teacher, who told all the children to call her Miss G. Best of all, Miss G said it was going to be “the best year of school ever.” Lizzie was excited: an entire year of school!

That fall, the school librarian had a reading contest and Lizzie’s class won! That was really fun.

When winter arrived, the school gym teacher taught Lizzie’s class how to dance. Miss G learned to dance, too, and Lizzie couldn’t wait to show Lulu.

When spring arrived, Lizzie’s class planted a garden and learned to grow flowers and plants for the butterflies and bees. Miss G was so proud the class won an award that she made them paper wings to wear.

But one day, everything ended. No more books from the library, no more dancing in the gym and no more garden. It was the last of the school year, and that made Lizzie very unhappy. Lizzie, in fact, “just frowned” and on the final day, she was so upset that she forgot to hug Miss G goodbye. But then, she started to think maybe someone was mistaken. Maybe there was school after all, so Lizzie snuck back to her classroom — and there, she got a big surprise.

Some kids can’t wait for school to end and summer to begin. They practically live for a long vacation but if that scenario causes tears in your house, then “Lizzie and the Last Day of School” is a book to find, post-haste.

The author gives Lizzie an appealing enthusiasm for scholarly pursuits which is, I think, a two-fold bonus: because she’s realistic, it’s easy for kids who enjoy school to identify with that main character. Conversely, thanks to the illustrations, children who profess to “hate” school can easily see what’s fun about it. Parents surely could appreciate that, either way.

While it might be enjoyed by a preschooler, this book is intended more for 5- to 7-year-olds, especially those who love to learn. And if that describes your child, find “Lizzie and the Last Day of School”… and begin.

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of books for children weekly.

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