Friday, November 20, 2009

Pilgrim Partners: We Gather Together....Now Please Get Lost! by Diane de Groat

His alarm clock doesn't go off, he spills his breakfast on his shirt, and even for Gilbert, it's a bad hair day.

But when he gets to school, the news is even worse. It's the day of the November field trip to Pilgrim Town, and since he's last one to school, he has to be the "bus buddy" of the class nerd Philip. Starving without his spilled breakfast, Gilbert tries to sneak a bite from his lunch on the bus, and Philip hastens to tattle, "I'm going to tell the teacher that you're eating on the bus!" Gilbert resigns himself to a dull ride and resolves to try to ditch Philip as soon as they arrive at the Pilgrim reenactment village.

Of course, the faithful Philip follows the rules, sticking to him like velcro, until in desperation Gilbert ducks quickly into a restroom and locks the door. With a sigh of relief, he settles down for a few minutes of peace while he waits for Philip to move on with the group.

But when he decides the coast is clear and tries to open the door, Gilbert finds that the lock is jammed and he's a prisoner.

Uh oh, Gilbert thought. If Philip didn't see him going into the bathroom, no one would know he was in there. Or worse--Philip might not tell anyone that Gilbert was missing and Gilbert would have to spend the whole night there. ALONE....

In this funny Thanksgiving school story from de Groat's popular Gilbert and Friends series, We Gather Together...Now Please Get Lost!, her hero Gilbert learns that are times when it's a very good thing to have someone around who does things by the book, and the doggedly dutiful Philip does not disappoint here.

This story of a school outing to study Pilgrim life makes a great classroom read-aloud experience for youngsters about to make a similar trip. Gilbert and his friends in Mrs. Bird's class are typical primary graders, and de Groat's appealing illustrations and authentic portrayals of life in the early grades are a good way to take kids through the significant events of the school year.

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