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Once Upon an Ordinary School Day    by Colin McNaughton & Satoshi Kitamura order for
Once Upon an Ordinary School Day
by Colin McNaughton
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Colin McNaughton shows us 'an ordinary boy' (looking like he got up on the wrong side of bed), who does all the usual stuff needed to wend his way to school, while thinking 'his ordinary thoughts'. But at his ordinary desk in his ordinary classroom, we learn that 'something quite out of the ordinary happened ...'

A new teacher bounds into the classroom, bringing color and interest into these children's lives. Mr. Gee plays a record on an old-fashioned gramophone. He asks them to 'let the music make pictures in your heads', and to put what they hear on paper. The ordinary boy writes about the hundreds of elephants the music set roaming through his mind. He dreams of swimming in the ocean with a dolphin and flying in the sky with birds. Satoshi Kitamura's illustrations paint ordinary in pallid, almost-gray hues, switching to full color for what comes alive in the children's imaginations.

Kids will relate to this inspiring account of an 'extraordinary school day', while adults will recall their own Mr. Gee's - great teachers who made their worlds colorful. Once Upon an Ordinary School Day is an extraordinary tribute to the power of children's imaginations, and to those excellent educators able to set them soaring.

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