illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Clarion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)


The first grade narrator of this book has been lots of things: Hungry. Four years old. Crazy bored. Soaking wet. Pretty regular kid . . . until he makes a mistake so big that he’s sure he will never be able to go back to Lakeview Elementary School. All readers will find the narrator’s feelings familiar, and discover that even though embarrassing things happen, they’re usually not as bad as they seem. And sometimes they’re even funny!


"There is so much story depth and character development in this charmer about friendship, forgiveness, and flexibility that it reads like an excerpt from a chapter book. First Grade Dropout is a just right book for sensitive grade-schoolers who like a good joke and are just learning how to laugh at themselves." --Boston Globe  

"Vernick’s tousled-haired hero may feel miserable, but he has the self-awareness, timing, and raconteurship of a master monologist; readers will be won over." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Kids will revel in the humor even as they sympathize with the main character's agony. This winning picture book will be popular for its entertainment value, as well as for its potential to introduce ideas about empathy." --School Library Journal

"In Audrey Vernick’s hilarious picture book First Grade Dropout, a young boy decides that he can never bring himself back to school, not after committing an awful verbal blunder in front of his entire class. In Matthew Cordell’s energetic, endearing cartoon illustrations we see the kid practically exploding at the memory of his mortification. Oh, the grinning faces! Oh, the hilarity! ... It is only when he dares to face his best friend again that our hero gets an unexpected and very funny jolt of perspective that turns everything around." - Wall Street Journal

“The amusingly brassy and exaggerated text is clever, deploying hyperbole to make a genuinely humiliating situation into something kids can chuckle at with sympathy. It also places the narrator’s experience of being laughed at in a larger context where everybody’s been the laugher as well as the laughee, both of which are common occurrences at the age where kids are excited about mastery but frequently miss the mark." --The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books

"Vernick's tightly wound age-appropriately self-absorbed narrator is hugely relatable, but readers will also get that he's overdoing it...a riot as well as an analgesic." --Horn Book Magazine