Big Test, The
Product Code: 93602
Binding Information: Hardback
Ages: 6 - 9
Availability: In stock
Mrs. Hartwell is preparing her class to take the Big Test. Knowing they have studied and are well-prepared, she helps the students practice how to sit quietly, fill in the bubbles, and follow the directions. She even instructs them on proper morning-of-the-test nutrition. As her students grow increasingly anxious about the Big Test, Mrs. Hartwell realizes she has to teach the most valuable test-taking skill of all: learning to relax!
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Kirkus Reviews - June 1, 2011Mrs. Hartwell is back (First Year Letters, 2003, etc.) in a gentle satire on teaching to the test.
It's a Monday at the end of a really great school year. The kids have learned a lot and had fun along the way, but it's time now for the dreaded standardized test. But first, they need to learn how to show what they know. On Monday, they practice sitting still. Tuesday's lesson is on bubble-filling, and Wednesday finds the class taking a timed practice test. Throughout, Mrs. Hartwell finds that she is writing a lot of passes to the nurse's office-the students can't take the pressure. And so on Thursday, Mrs. Hartwell tosses her lesson plans and leads her nerved-up class to the library for a little relaxation. Danneberg's tongue-in-cheek humor is definitely in evidence as she describes the rigors of getting ready for a standardized test and the maladies that arise in anxiety-ridden students. Love's ink-and-dye artwork captures the varied expressions and body language of a classroom full of students, from a finger-down-the-throat gesture of disgust to the pride on their faces at having learned so much.
Once they stop laughing at the spot-on depiction of standardized testing, teachers should take a page from Mrs. Hartwell's book.
School Library Journal - July 12, 2011Mrs. Hartwell's students have been working hard all year, but they are not sure they can deal with the Big Test. The week before it is slated, their teacher tells them they have just a few more things to learn. They need to know how to sit still for long periods of time, how to fill in the bubbles on the answer sheet, and how to follow directions. At each turn, the kids worry and get headaches, stomachaches, and other maladies. On Thursday, Mrs. Hartwell lines up her class and marches them down the hall to the library. The sign on the door says, "Library Closed: Students Testing." But inside it's a test party. The students get to play and relax and eat. This works so well that no one is sick anymore and they breeze through the actual Big Test on Friday. The illustrations, done in ink and transparent dyes on watercolor paper, are priceless. The children's faces clearly express all the agony that the situation requires. The youngsters appear to be about second or third graders. This title will be popular in school and public libraries.
Booklist - August 1, 2011Books about school anxiety, especially the first day of school, abound, but this take is refreshing for its unusual focus on testing-related anxiety. After Mrs. Hartwell explains that they "have to know how to show what you know," the class tackles one skill daily: sitting still and working individually, reading all the directions, filling in answer bubbles, and more. The multicultural kids' facial expression -- perplexed, worried, determined, and relieved once the test is over -- aptly convey their experience. Standardized testing is an accepted reality in most public schools; this portrayal effectively reassures students that anxiety and challenges are normal and common, and can be overcome.
BayViews - August 1, 2011In Danneberg’s third book about Mrs. Hartwell, it’s the end of the school year and Mrs. Hartwell’s class is preparing for their big standardized test. As the kids have their frivolous final lessons on “how to show what you know” like the “sitting-still-for-long-periods-of-time” skill and the “fill-in-the-bubble” skill, the kids get so stressed they start becoming ill, and one by one are sent to the nurse’s office. Worried about her class, Mrs. Hartwell surprises them with a party to help them stop worrying and relax. In the end, they all do fine on the test. Love’s realistic illustrations in ink and transparent dyes capture a wide range of facial expressions from a girl squeezing her eyes shut and holding her nose when she finds out there’s a test to kids laughing as they make creative costumes at the class party. Unfortunately, there is a very limited audience for this book. While teachers might appreciate the satire of teaching to the test, children may not get the mild humor. Preschoolers and kindergarteners won’t have the necessary background knowledge, and it is too young for older elementary students.
Read, Write, Repeat. - September 16, 2011As a brand-new first grader, today’s guest reviewer, Tyler, hasn’t had to take too many big tests yet.
But when his first one rolls around, he’ll probably be ready thanks to The Big Test (Charlesbridge, 2011) written by Julie Danneberg and illustrated by Judy Love.
The book features a teacher, Sarah Jane Hartwell, making sure her class is ready for the big test. She teaches them to sit quietly, follow directions and fill in bubbles with their No. 2 pencils.
And then, just before the big day, she teaches them what might be the most important lesson of all — how to relax.
Kirkus Reviews had this to say about the book:
“Once they stop laughing at the spot-on depiction of standardized testing, teachers should take a page from Mrs. Hartwell’s book.”
But now, it’s time to hear from today’s guest reviewer. Take it away, Tyler!
Our reviewer: Tyler
Things I like to do: Play games, play with cars and play with my mom.
This book was about: Getting ready for the big test.
The best part was when: They had the party.
I smiled when: They had the party.
I was worried when: The teacher put the sign on the door.
I was surprised when: I saw the party.
This book taught me: To work hard and have fun when you’re done.
Three words that describe this book are: “Educational.” “Interesting.” “Colorful.”
My favorite line or phrase in this book is: “Just relax.”
Other kids reading this book should watch for: The party!
You should read this book because: It teaches good lessons.
This book is part of a series by Julie Danneberg. If you’d to see more of the teacher, Miss Sarah Jane Hartwell, check out First Day Jitters, First Year Letters and Last Day Blues. You also can visit Julie’s website.
The book is illustrated by Judy Love.
Picturebook Reviews - November 14, 2011Mrs. Hartwell worked hard with her students throughout the school year. As the year came to a close, the kids were scheduled to take a big test to gauge what they’d learned. It was a long test so the students practiced sitting still and filling in answer bubbles to prepare. Even though they were ready, they were nervous. So much so that they started heading to the nurse’s office in ones and twos. But Mrs. Hartwell knows how to relieve the pressure. She has a big surprise waiting for them in the library! Despite their anxiousness, the hard work of the students paid off! Bright and lively expressive artwork clearly demonstrates the anguish and surprise of the students and will bring young readers right into Mrs. Hartwell’s classroom.