Friday, October 3, 2008

Book Review: Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes

One Monday morning Lilly came to school especially happy.
She had gone shopping with her Grammy over the weekend.
Lilly had a new pair of movie star sunglasses, complete with glittery diamonds and a chain like Mr. Slinger's.
She had three shiny quarters.
And, best of all, she had a brand new purple plastic purse that played a jaunty tune when it was opened.

Lilly is, in a word, exuberant. She loves school and everything in it - including her teacher Mr. Slinger. "Wow," said Lilly. That was just about all she could say. "Wow." She loves Mr. Slinger so much, she pretends to be him at home, making her baby brother Julius be the student. She loves him so much, she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. 

One day, Lilly comes to school "especially happy," eager to show off her new purple plastic purse, her movie star sunglasses, and her jingly quarters. But she chooses the wrong times to try to share, and Mr. Slinger has to take action. So Lilly goes to the Lightbulb Lab and she thinks. First, she gets sad. Then, Lilly gets angry. Then, Lilly gets furious. And then, she makes something that shows exactly how she feels about Mr. Slinger. And that's when things begin to get very...interesting.

For Teachers and Librarians:
Lilly is a sweet girl, an outlandish girl, a "zest for life" kind of girl. But when something doesn't go her way, her full-force exuberance morphs into full-force fury, and she acts before she thinks - a situation even the most well-behaved of students finds herself in at one time or another. But when Lilly realizes how badly she acts, she gets a little help from her parents and herself to make ammends. She also comes to realize her teacher is both understanding and forgiving. And she is so relieved that Mr. Slinger is still that wonderful teacher that she looks at him and just says, "Wow." 

This story shows Lilly run through a wide range of emotions: love, admiration, sadness, anger, fury, remorse - and how she deals with each. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse is an excellent way for kids to see not only how their own emotions affect them, but also how their emotions can affect others, and vice versa. It is a sweet story with a subtle message that is not in the least overbearing. Your students will enjoy the story, and maybe see a little bit of themselves. They will see that a little slip-up now and then isn't such a bad thing - and that forgiveness can be right around the corner if you just look for it.

For Parents, Grandparents and Caregivers:
You are often bearing the brunt of your little people's emotions. When they're sweet, they're very sweet. And when they're not - well, you help them through it and you love them anyway. That's what Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse is all about: emotions, and how we deal with them. It's also about forgiveness: when we do something that isn't right, we can show how sorry we are. If that remorse is genuine, the forgiveness comes. It is a huge relief for the little guys - I might screw up, and it might be really big, but I can show that I am sorry, and I will still be loved.

For the Kids:
Lilly is so excited about showing her classmates her shiny quarters, her movie star glasses, and her fabulous purple plastic purse. But every time she tries to show them off, her teacher Mr. Slinger tells her it is the wrong time. Then finally, Mr. Slinger does something that makes Lilly furious! So, she chooses to do something about it. She makes something very mean for Mr. Slinger. But on the way home from school that day, she finds something in her purple plastic purse from Mr. Slinger, and then she feels very, very bad about what she did. What did she find in her purse? What did she do that was so mean? Will her teacher forgive her? You'd better go read Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse so you can find out.

Wrapping Up:
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse is a sweet story that the little guys will be asking to hear or read over and over again. Lilly is one of those characters that gets into your soul and stays there for a long time to come. And you will find yourself so happy that she's there.

Title: Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Author and Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
Pages: 32
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Publisher and Date: Greenwillow, August 1996
Edition: 1st
Language: English
Published In: United States
Price: $16.99
ISBN-10: 068128971
ISBN-13: 978-0688128975

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