Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

by Kevin Henkes

Lilly loves school, her "pointy pencils," the "squeaky chalk," the "clickety-clickety-clack"... read more

Lilly loves school, her "pointy pencils," the "squeaky chalk," the "clickety-clickety-clack" sounds her red cowgirl boots make in the halls, and "the privacy of her very own desk." Lilly especially loves her teacher Mr. Slinger, who "is sharp as a tack," wears "a different colored tie each day of the week," and provides cheesy snacks. The normally loquacious Lilly is almost speechless when she tries to say why Mr. Slinger is such a good teacher. "Wow. That was just about all she could say. Wow." One day Lilly brings a new purple plastic purse, movie star sunglasses and three shiny quarters to school. Her new possessions become such distractions to her that Mr. Slinger sets them on his desk during the day. Lilly's mean-spirited retaliation to such injustice soon makes her miserable. Her parents and Mr. Slinger help their basically warm-hearted, strong-willed child to move beyond the anxious episode. It's relatively easy for young children to forget that Lilly and the other characters are rodents, because author/artist Henkes has them behaving as most humans might under similar circumstances. It could be easy for adults to overlook Henkes' mastery of picture book narrative, splendid watercolor illustrations and superb page designs because--like Mr. Slinger and Lilly's parents--he makes what he does so superbly look effortless. Wow. (Ages 4-8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1996

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