BooksForKidsBlog

Friday, August 05, 2016

Back to School! The Best Seat in the Second Grade by Katharine Kenah

SAM HAD THE BEST SEAT IN SECOND GRADE.

HE SAT IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM. HE DIDN'T SIT NEXT TO THE GLOBE. HE DIDN'T SIT NEXT TO THE DINOSAUR MODELS, OR THE PIONEER FORT.

HE SAT NEXT TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

No, Sam's not sitting by the portrait of our first president. He's sitting next to the cage where George the hamster lives. This George Washington becomes Sam's favorite school subject. No matter what his teacher Mr. Hopper is talking about, Sam can work the class pet into the conversation.

"WHO KNOWS WHAT LAVA IS?" ASKS MR. HOPPER.

"IT POPS OUT OF VOLCANOES," SAYS SAM, "THE WAY GEORGE WASHINGTON POPS OUT OF HIS NEST."

The rest of the class snickers as time after time Sam brings George into every lesson. But what Sam really wants is to be named Hamster Helper for the week. He watches sadly as other kids get picked.

And then it's time for a field trip to the planetarium, and Sam just can't stand for George Washington to be left alone back at school. He places him gently deep in his coat pocket and sneaks him inside the museum. George gets a peep at the planetarium's stars and planets, gets his fur ruffled in the wind tunnel, climbs inside the Giant Seashell and goes along with Sam in the Bubble Blast. Sam carefully keeps George hidden until they get to the Animal Zone.

Sam and George are drawn to the huge Hamster Habitat, and George Washington gets so excited to see his cousins that he sneezes! BIG TIME! The whole class knows that sneeze, and suddenly Sam's secret stowaway is outed!

UH OH! Busted!

Will Sam be separated from his favorite class buddy?

Mr. Hopper takes action, but with empathy. Back in the classroom, he moves Sam's desk up front--right beside his desk where he can keep his eye on him.

But he moves George Washington's cage, too, right to the table right beside Sam's seat.

SAM HAD THE BEST SEAT IN SECOND GRADE.

Katharine Kenah's The Best Seat in Second Grade (I Can Read Level 2) (HarperCollins, 2015) in its new revised edition is back for beginning readers just moving up to short chapters and independent reader status. This back-to-school-themed Level Two book is illustrated ably by Abby Carter, whose artwork extends the narrative by picking up on Sam's expressions and body language as he sneaks his furry friend along on the field trip. As Kirkus Reviews says, "Carter's expressive watercolor illustrations help bring the kids in room 75 and their fury pet to life."

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