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From Pictures to Words - a guide to choosing books for beginner readers:
School Stories


How to be Cool in Junior School by Betsy Duffey
Published by The Penguin Group, 1993
ISBN 0-140-36930-9
Illustrations © Julie Douglas, 1996

Young readers will empathise with Robert York and his anxieties on the night before he enters third year in school. He is totally preoccupied with what’s cool in junior school. Deciding to change his name must be the first step in the right direction.

Other definite changes include wearing jeans instead of the scratchy new brown shorts laid out carefully by Mother, and her taking pictures of him at the bus stop is now a definite NO.

After his encounter with the habitual bully of school stories, Robbies’s refrain “It was going to be a great year!” changes. How to be cool at Junior School is replaced with desperate plans on how to survive it.

Real emotions of growing up are compassionately dealt with by the author who also presents a humourous side to the trials of Robbie.

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