Come in and Take a Closer Look
By: Britta Teckentrup
Published: September 15, 2020
Publisher: Prestel Junior
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Join some students for a day in their lives at school. There are a variety of students that share the ups and downs of a school day. Unfortunately, many of them do not enjoy going to school. Some of them are bullied throughout the day by other students, others don’t feel like they have any friends, and others just don’t like being there. But, there are those few who love school, have great teachers, and lots of friends.
As someone who works at school, I know there are situations of bullying….oftentimes, things that we don’t see. In this book, a teacher ignored a student’s bullying concerns and laid blame on the student who was bullied. I know this can happen, but I still took a bit offense since I take bullying very seriously and do my best to believe and hear students who are hurting.
Students who have immigrated from another country, students who are lonely, teachers that discourage rather than encourage can make up a community much like yours, but just as common are teachers that are kind and caring and students who are helpful and friendly. I think there will be students that will be able to identify themselves in this fictional school. I also hope it will encourage students to be kind, seek out those students who are lonely, and not be afraid to intervene if they spot someone being bullied.
Teckentrup’s illustrations are warm and inviting with accurate and expressive feelings shown on the students’ faces and in their body language. I identified with the girl in gym class who was always the last one chosen for the team. I remember the feeling of not wanting to be the last one chosen so if I ever sub in gym class, I always choose the teams to make sure no one feels awkward or left out.
It felt like this story was too sad for a book about school, but I think Teckentrup wanted to offer a different perspective of what school is like for some kids and offer a way for kids to reach out and be kind. The book ends with two students who felt left out and alone, meeting in the schoolyard, talking, and becoming new friends.
Britta Teckentrup was born in Germany and moved to England in 1988. She is the author and illustrator of many books for children. She now lives in Berlin with her husband and young son. For more information, check out her website, HERE. You can also see other books by Britta that I’ve reviewed, HERE.