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*The Blue Ribbon Day* by Katie Couric - buy it online

Also illustrated by Marjorie Priceman:

Paris in the Spring with Picasso
The Blue Ribbon Day
by Katie Couric, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
ages 9-12 32 pages Doubleday October 2004 Hardcover Recommended at 4 stars of 5   

Interesting children in the reading experience can lead to a lifetime of adventure, knowledge and opportunity. A child's world is filled with endless amusements, but books offer far more than a few hours enjoyment. It is just the beginning of a lifetime of enjoyment. Young readers offer a special challenge, piquing their curiosity, drawing the imaginations into a learning experience.

In The Blue Ribbon Day, Katie Couric has used rhyming to create the flow of her story, a tale of two friends who find that differences are as wonderful as similarities. Couric uses the rhyming technique for the latest adventures of Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O'Toole, as the two friends try out for soccer together. Unfortunately, only one of the girls excels in the sport and is chosen for the team.

The challenge for Carrie O'Toole: she doesn't have exactly the same talents as her friend Ellie McSnelly and fails to make the team, after all. Not to worry. Couric has plans for Carrie and an important life lesson as well. With a little help from Carrie’s mother and a young friend, Lazlo, Carrie learns the value of differences, in this case a successful display at the Science Fair. Carrie and Lazlo win a blue ribbon in the science competition and Carrie finds her own way to shine.

There is much to be learned in this lighthearted romp through the joys of girlhood; each child is blessed with her own unique gifts; their individual qualities make their lives more interesting. As the girls share in each other's endeavors, they realize that diverse talents make life more exciting, broadening the horizons for both.

The illustrations are bright and energetic, suggesting the frenetic activities of this stage of childhood, a perfect complement to the optimistic rhymes that propel the story. Little girls are constantly beset with choices while making a place in the society of other young females, decisions critical to a developing sense of self-confidence and self-worth. This enthusiastic approach to problem solving is a delightful read, with subtle lessons of acceptance for differences, one that can be read alone or shared with a family member. Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O'Toole are perfect role models who take on the world hand in hand, laughing all the while.


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  Luan Gaines/2004 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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