Reviews for Please Write in This Book

Booklist Reviews 2006 December #2
When their teacher leaves a blank journal in the Writers' Corner, encouraging kids to "talk" to one another about anything they like, they start off with brief self-portraits in words and sketches, including bits of facts and nonsense. Lizzie tells her classmates to be nice, but she gets mad when the boys mock her and her friends with lots of talk about poop, snot, and stinky feet. Then a classroom war erupts, and Lizzie and her friend Yoshi hide the journal in the girls' bathroom--where the boys find it. In the end they apologize to one another, and together they write a story. They call it "Invasion of the Journal Snatchers," and even their teacher loves it. Grade-schoolers, boys and girls, will enjoy the slapstick and the farce, whether it's about worms that poop or kids acting crabby; too bad the story perpetuates the stereotype of the librarian who says "Shhh!" ((Reviewed December 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring
Challenged to collectively fill a notebook with anything they choose, Ms. Wurtz's students happily enter poems, drawings, and stories both factual and made-up, until they begin arguing about the notebook's rules. Presented as rotating entries with varied handwriting and funky black-and-white illustrations, the notebook highlights each student's personality as the classmates debate the rules and finally learn to work together. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2006 November #2
When a teacher leaves an enticingly blank book in a corner, it becomes a record of classroom rivalries, diplomacy and growth in this deceptively lighthearted offering from the creator of the Riot Brothers. In a variety of handwritten-style entries festooned with childlike drawings, bossy Lizzy and brash Luke ("rhymes with puke") go head-to-head as animal-loving Keesha, meek Yoshiko, budding engineer Milton and others chime in. Slowly, the gross-out remarks, outraged responses, pleas for amity, wild tall tales, authentically lame verse and sycophantic comments take on a different character. By the end, everyone-even initially aliterate Jimmy-is on the same page, enthusiastically taking turns contributing to a collectively composed story about rescuing the teacher from alien kidnappers. Along with warming the cockles of any educator's heart, this record of successful class dynamics will draw reluctant readers with its funny dialogue and please fans of Kate Klise's illustrated romps. (Fiction. 9-11) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews
Amato's (the Riot Brothers books) novel takes the form of a journal that a teacher secretly places in the Writer's Corner of her classroom, encouraging the students who discover it to " ‘talk' to one another in these pages." Their written conversations largely consist of trading barbs-often boys-vs.-girls-themed-many of which are silly or mean-spirited. In their words and rudimentary pictures, several boys trot out a juvenile humor that some readers will find off-putting: after one makes his initial entry ("My name is Luke. It rhymes with puke"), another responds, "Great picture. Made me laugh so hard, snot almost came out my nose." Fed up with the "lies and mean stuff" in the boys' entries, bossy Lizzy and her best friend whisk the book off to the girls' bathroom. The boys nonetheless retrieve it, and their fellow classmates declare the purloiners the "Queens of Mean." Finally Luke proffers a peace plan, suggesting they all cooperate to write a single fictional story ("No getting sad or mad. It's just fun"). As the students collaborate on an inane tale in which they rescue their teacher and journal from invading aliens, readers know from their handwriting who is contributing each passage. In the journal's final entry, the teacher commends her students for figuring out how to work together. Ages 7-10. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2007 April

Gr 2-4-- Ms. Wurtz decides to encourage creative dialogue by leaving a blank notebook in her classroom's Writer's Corner so that students will "talk to each other." The only stipulations are to "have fun" and "sign your name," and she promises not to read it until the end of the month. As the children begin to express themselves, alliances and rivalries develop. Personalities are revealed: rule-maker Lizzy; her peacemaker sidekick, Yoshiko; class clown Luke; and organizer/self-proclaimed editor Milton contribute to the journal and illustrate their handwritten entries. As the boys' bathroom humor escalates against the girls' pleas to write only "nice things," a rebellion in words develops. After the journal is "kidnapped," the classmates realize that their writing has become hurtful, and Luke suggests that they all contribute to a story to end the month's entries without any hard feelings. This seemingly disingenuous tale is carefully planned. It is no surprise that Ms. Wurtz's idea to plant the journal in the Writer's Corner on August 31st will perhaps determine and improve her class's dynamics for the coming school year, in addition to giving her a sense of her budding writers' potential interrelationships. Although the children's adversarial issues and appropriately lame rhyming verse take up their focus at first, the classmates come together with their fictional rescue story in a well-meaning, satisfactory end to the story. Fans of Geronimo Stilton and Marissa Moss's "Amelia" notebooks (S & S) will enjoy this offering.--Lynne Mattern, Robert Seaman School, Jericho, NY

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