by Mary Whitcomb Year Published: Challenging
This inaugural picture book for both author and artist features an oddball girl whose differences teach her classmates to appreciate their own unique qualities. On the first day of school, while the other children bring the teacher cinnamon tea and potpourri, Velvet offers "an egg carton filled with seven rocks, her favorite red shoelaces, and a half a sparrow's egg." Velvet sports long red braids, enormous round glasses and candy-striped stockings, and when the children notice that she is not wearing a new dress, they point and laugh: "Where did she come from?" But the taunting never gets out of hand, thanks to the author's restraint and pictures that exaggerate the features of all the schoolchildren. This one's for anyone who feels different or who knows someone who's different; everyone will recognize Velvet.