“A powerful story of strength and self-acceptance. . . . The vivid historical setting will leave readers feeling they have experienced life in Kizzy Ann’s world.” — Kirkus Reviews
In 1963, as Kizzy Ann prepares for her first year at an integrated school, she worries about the color of her skin, the scar running from the corner of her eye to the tip of her smile, and whether anyone at the white school will like her. She writes letters to her new teacher in a clear, insistent voice, asking questions with startling honesty. The new teacher is supportive, but not everyone feels the same. Her brother, James, is having a far less positive school experience, and the annoying white neighbor boy won’t leave her alone. Shag, her border collie, is her refuge, but opportunity continues to clash with obstacle. Kizzy Ann knows she and Shag could compete in the dog trials, but will she be able to enter? From Jeri Watts comes an inspiring middle- grade novel about opening your mind to the troubles and scars we all must bear — and facing life with hope and trust.
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Watercolor illustrations follow the text closely, showing the koala through days and nights, in all kinds of weather, and using an unusual, kangaroolike gait when he flees from a snake. Relatively challenging words such as "hesitates," "sapling," and "leaf litter" are evident from the context of words and pictures, and "marsupial" is explained early on. The koala's trials are real, but they are also brief enough to assuage any reader anxiety. Solid beginners' zoology.
Using the format launched by the Read and Wonder series twenty-five years ago, Saxby combines a narrative story of a single koala with explanatory, expository prose that provides information about the species as a whole.
The watercolor illustrations are dramatic, colorful, and attractive...Youngsters will enjoy learning about the marsupial’s physical characteristics, child-rearing, mating, and enemies, as well as where they live and what they eat, all within a moving tale filled with adventure. Riveting nonfiction for elementary collections.
—School Library Journal