Reviews for Off to School

Horn Book Guide Reviews 1996
Wezielee, an African-American girl, wants to go to school but must stay home to prepare meals while her family harvest the crops. Daydreaming about school, Wezielee creates surprising -- and disappointing -- meals. The young girl is overjoyed when her father finally decides that where she will be most successful is at school. Watercolors illustrate this story about a sharecropper's family. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Kirkus Reviews 1995 September
~ From the author of The Barber's Cutting Edge (1994), a flawed story that is also predictable: Wezielee, the youngest child of a large African-American sharecropper family, is left at home to cook the midday meal while the rest of her family toils in the fields. She is distracted by her wish to attend the nearby school, and meal after meal is oversalted, overcooked, overspiced, or just plain forgotten. Long before Wezielee ruins the fifth consecutive dinner, readers will have leaped ahead to the foregone conclusion: She will never be a cook, so she may as well be a scholar. Little about the family's hardscrabble life is authentically described. They are sharecroppers and migrant pickers, two very different, mutually exclusive occupations. Wezielee's father is said to be planting and weeding, but it is harvesttime, when neither activity would take place. Wezielee's thirst for learning and her long-suffering family's patience with her culinary shortcomings are attractive, as are the watercolors Griffith (David Adler's A Picture Book of Sojourner Truth, 1994) provides of the hardworking clan, with their sparsely furnished cabin and plain, worn clothes. (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal Reviews 1996 January
Gr 1-4 Wezielee longs to go to school, but instead she has to cook meals for her family members who are laboring in the fields. Her inattention causes repeated crises, such as oversalting the beans, overcooking the vegetables, burning the cornbread, and putting too much hot pepper in the soup. Her father finally decides that she should go to school. While the story, set in the early part of this century, has potential interest, it lacks logic and coherence. The relationship between Wezielee's culinary failures and her desire to go to school is tenuous. Her disasters could have been humorous, but they fall flat. Also, while the author refers to the family as sharecroppers, they seem to be migrant farm workers Wezielee's father ``...moved the family from state to state, picking cotton, apples, tomatoes, and corn.'' Griffith's illustrations add to the child's personality, and the use of pinks, yellows, and browns evokes a hot, dry countryside. The heroine's close, loving African American family shines through, but her story won't hold most readers' attention. Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews