Louise the Big Cheese and the Back-to-School Smarty-Pants by Elise Primavera, Illustrated by Diane Goode
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
July 19, 2011
Ages 4-840 Pages
Children’s Picture Book
Elise Primavera has been writing and illustrating children's books for more than 25 years. She has received numerous awards for her work, and in 2004 she was asked to illustrate the Christmas Brochure for the White House. Her bestselling book Auntie Claus has sold over half a million copies. Ms. Primavera wrote her first novel, the popular Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls, in 2006. Her latest book, Libby of Hi Hopes, is an illustrated novel due to arrive in 2012.
Louise the Big Cheese and the Back-to-School Smarty-Pants is a fun tale about how ambition, hard work, and a sprinkling of a dedicated teacher can whip up a combination that inspires children into finding the best in themselves.
Louise is a little girl who wants the best and biggest of everything so she can show the world that she is someone of importance. After spending some time with her sister, Penelope, in her room, Louise could see a difference in her. Penelope wasn’t admiring herself in the mirror like she usually did, but was working hard on her computer. Penelope told her younger sister that she was studying so she could get straight A’s in school. Well, this inspired the little diva to wants to get straight A’s, too.
The problem is that Louise has a misconception about what getting straight A’s will do for her. She thinks her grades will make her popular. She even goes so far as to think that she will be promoted and can skip ahead a few grades.The teacher Louise is supposed to have is Mrs. Pearl. Louise has a misconception about her, too. Louise thinks getting A’s from her will be easy. She realizes too late that she is mistaken. Mrs. Pearl is tough and pushes her students to do their best. Doing mediocre work is not, apparently, going to be good enough. That’s exactly what Louise does most of the time: just mediocre work, but Mrs. Pearl pushes her harder because she can see Louise’s potential. Louise just thinks Mrs. Pearl is mean and she doesn’t much like her.
Dreading her future, Louise arrives at school the next day only to be greeted by Miss Sprinkles, the substitute teacher. Louise is sure that she can get an A out of her, and she does, which makes her feel like a big cheese. The problem is that Miss Sprinkles gives everybody A’s. That special feeling she is looking for by getting an A, doesn’t feel so special after all. Will Louise ever appreciate her dedicated teacher, Mrs. Pearl? Or will she forever just do mediocre work and never realize her full potential?
Young girls from the ages of 4–8 who relish in the Fancy Nancy series are going to enjoy this 40-page picture book. It’s cute and entertaining and fits right in with the many little girls out there who think they are big cheeses.
Parents will either enjoy the sassy, smart-mouthed, attitudinal main character, or will be appalled by her behavior. Either way, the story leaves the reader with a good message: Always do your best and then push yourself to do even better—and never settle.