Thanks to Susan E. Murray of School Library Journal for a generous and kind review of Chuck and Woodchuck, out March 8th:
Caroline is excited to show off her grandfather’s ukulele at show and tell. Her classmates have cool stuff to show, too, but no one’s item tops Chuck’s. Chuck brings a…woodchuck to first grade. When the woodchuck turns out to be fun to spend time with, the class begs their teacher to let him stay. Caroline knows that he is always kind and generous to her, but she doesn’t exactly know why. When Caroline loses her cupcake, Woodchuck replaces it with Chuck’s. And it’s Chuck’s hat Woodchuck gives Caroline when she is cold during recess. It turns out that Woodchuck has been doing some friend-matching for Chuck, who is too shy to approach Caroline himself. Bell’s charming cartoon illustrations are humorous and have a retro feel to them. Readers will go back and review the illustrations after catching on to Woodchuck’s plan, and see Chuck hovering nervously at the edge of the page while Woodchuck takes the initiative. The story is told from Caroline’s point of view, and it is pitch-perfect. This will be a fun classroom read-aloud, since it goes through the whole school year. VERDICT Children will be clamoring for their own woodchuck once they read this tale—where did Chuck find his?