The Problem With Pelly (First Graders from Mars)

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9780439266321: The Problem With Pelly (First Graders from Mars)
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A stellar new story in Shana Corey and Mark Teaguešs irresistible Martian chronicles where desk lamps watch you and plants cover their ears from bad singing. The Martian words (meep meep) will delight the read-aloud crowd. The series is at once intelligent, reassuring, and appealing ­ while dealing sensitively with childrenšs anxieties.

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Review:

Poor Pelly. After moving with her family from Phobos to Mars, she is ridiculed for the fuzzy topknot or "fluffernobbin" on her head. Snooty classmate Tera flaunts a drawing of her own family with matching tentacles and a two-headed baby. "This is what normal families look like," says Tera. "Your family is weird." Desperate to be normal, Pelly takes some drastic measures, only to learn from a visiting opera star that her fluffernobbin actually makes her quite special.

Anyone who has ever felt like an alien will immediately relate to Pelly's woes, and cheer at her victorious realization that it's not so bad to be different. Author Shana Corey makes the problems of Martians seem as familiar as Earthlings', and illustrator Mark Teague's chartreuse, purple, and orange first graders are adorable in sweaters, skirts, and blue jeans. Don't miss the first in the series by this creative pair: First Graders From Mars: Horus's Horrible Day. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 2--In this picture book, multihued, variously appendaged Martians stand in for humans with anxieties that are easily recognizable and translatable to a young child's experience. Tera's family is "normal": she and her parents have matching tentacles, the family baby has two heads. The problem with Pelly, as Tera is happy to remind her, is that she and her family are different, "weird," with their waving fluffernobbins on top of their heads, which serve as both hair and mouths. When a special visitor is announced-Madama Da Luna from the Grand Martian Opera-Pelly yearns to impress the guest by emulating her classmates, but her attempts backfire. Good-humored, cartoonlike illustrations and a happy resolution-Madama Da Luna has a fluffernobbin, too, and Pelly turns out to have an operatic voice-will reassure the audience. This subject is an evergreen one, and has been covered regularly, notably in Rosemary Wells's Yoko (Hyperion, 1998), which uses lunchtime snacks to explore cultural differences. Corey's version is slightly heavy-handed, leaving nothing unexplained, but Teague's sprightly illustrations save the story from outright didacticism. This book follows Horus's Horrible Day (Scholastic, 2001) and children who enjoyed it will find the same universe jauntily depicted here.
Dona Ratterree, The Parkside School, New York City
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Corey, Shana
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