Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric

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Title: The Brand New Kid

Author: Katie Couric | Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman

Publisher: Doubleday | Published: October 10, 2000

Theme:  Tolerance and Compassion

Character Origin: Human

Book Type: Picture Book  | Pages: 32

Ages: 5-9 | Book Level: 3.8 | Lexile Measure: AD790L

Book Synopsis…

Everyone remembers feeling excited and nervous each fall on the first day of school. It’s no different for Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O’Toole. But this year, there’s not only a new teacher to meet but a brand new kid as well. Lazlo S. Gasky doesn’t look or speak quite like the other kids, and no one is sure what to make of him. In fact, they respond to his arrival at Brookhaven School by taunting and teasing him. But when Ellie realizes how tough it is for Lazlo, she reaches out, and after school one day they share an afternoon of soccer, strudel, and chess. Besides making a new friend, she and Lazlo teach their classmates an important lesson-one that isn’t in their schoolbooks-about accepting people who are different…and in getting to know Lazlo, the kids learn that people aren’t that different from each other after all.

From one of America’s most respected journalists, The Brand New Kid is a heartwarming story about tolerance and the need to give others a chance that will entertain and inspire children and adults alike.

My overall thoughts…

I was filled with so much empathy while reading this book. My heart went out to young Lazlo. I remember going to school and being picked on myself–it’s not a good feeling at all. It’s so easy to follow the crowd and treat others poorly. But it only takes one person’s act of kindness and courage to shift the oftentimes miserable, lonely tide for an ostracized student. Will you be a leader or a follower? Hmmm…

The illustrations and text…

It is my guess that Priceman’s medium of illustration is watercolor. Honestly, I’m not a fan of the illustrations. They lacked the human quality for me and came off unrealistically. I was very disappointed with that. The text size was appropriate and easy and to read. The text itself had a nice flow to it. I enjoyed the overall message of the book. Couric opens the door for parents to have an open and honest discussion with their kids about tolerance and compassion.

With a new school year right around the corner, let’s remember to be kind and to treat others as we’d like to be treated. It’s not easy being the new kid. It takes courage just stepping into a new classroom with people that you don’t know. I hope you have a wonderful school year and welcome any new kids that you meet with courage and respect.

I’ll give it…

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