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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
Author Ryan Reaves is described as a “rambunctious," “very special” six-year-old dancer who has been home from school all year because of the pandemic. Amid brilliant pictures of Ryan at school with her teacher and friends, she lists the things she has missed during her stay at home. In her dedication, she suggests that her parents should go on a date. The book is formatted by first presenting cute little Ryan walking toward their school building, wearing a backpack and dressed in a uniform of white blouse and blue skirt. After that first page, there is a page with Ryan sitting at a desk and typing on a keyboard with a bubble thought above her head as she pictures an idea. Then the following page shows an empty schoolroom without Ryan but with the thought bubble written in words, such as; I miss morning hugs by teacher, class birthday parties, playing with friends, and coming home to parents.
I think this lovely little picture book would be ideal for teaching young children who have missed school due to Covid19 how to match words to pictures. First are the pictures, then the words that fit the thoughts. Notably, Ryan and her friends are shown clearly as African American girls, and though they enter the school in uniforms, they are just regularly dressed inside. We see them learning and playing. The artwork is direct and colorful, nothing blurry or ambiguous—bright faces, outfits, and furnishings will be useful in teaching young ones words for the items shown. Most importantly, all the words are Ryan’s in the first person as she tells her story. Our current generation of youngsters will never forget the last year of home isolation and will revel in Ryan’s joy of resuming life as usual. I Miss School by Ryan Reaves shows an important and inspiring message for small kids to enjoy and to learn.