Diary of a Would-be Princess: The Journal of Jillian James, 5b

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9781580891660: Diary of a Would-be Princess: The Journal of Jillian James, 5b
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In the journal her fifth-year teacher requires, Jillian records the ups and downs of her efforts to become popular as she hosts a class party, creates a school magazine, and tutors some socially misfit boys.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 4–6—The journal that Jillian writes during fifth grade in a rural Australian town has a lot to recommend it and some problems as well. The girl progresses from being an unpopular loner who's envious of the Princesses in class to the center of a group that is mostly outcast boys. They range from socially awkward Nigel to Sam, who needs Jillian's help to complete schoolwork. Except for encouraging comments from her teacher, Mrs. Bright, the entries are all in Jillian's voice and any dialogue is indirect. As a result, it can be hard to distinguish other characters and they end up more as types than real people. Jillian is a wry and entertaining writer. Her description of a disastrous party she throws is very funny. She develops from a somewhat unlikable character into a kind soul. When one of her classmates is caught shoplifting, she gets her friends to write letters to the authorities to support him. A speech she makes up about procrastination is delightful but almost too grown-up. A glossary at the end of the book clarifies Australian slang; it would have been more help at the beginning. Even with it, the difference in tone, customs, and wording may be too much to keep American children interested, which is unfortunate. Although Jillian is a character who takes getting used to, she's definitely worth knowing.—Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Jillian James wants desperately to fit in with the Princess clique at her Flora Heights Primary School in Australia. Unfortunately, she is terrible at math, a disaster on the playground, and her only real friend (though she won't admit it) is nerdy Nigel. Jillian recounts the ups and downs of her fifth-grade year in a funny school journal that includes weekly comments from her teacher, Mrs. Bright. As the year progresses, Jillian takes tentative steps toward getting out of her slump--she hosts a party for her classmates, struggles through a school athletic tournament, and writes an award-winning speech on the fine art of procrastination--emerging more confident of her strengths and comfortable with her social status. Australian vocabulary and idioms have been left intact (a glossary is appended), adding to the rich local color of Green's fiction debut. The author makes her point about friendship without ever becoming didactic, and her thoroughly delightful look at universal middle-grade concerns will work equally well for reading aloud or reading alone. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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