The Skippack School by Marguerite de Angeli takes awhile to get into, but it is worth it. As my nine-year-old put it, “It starts out boring, but then it gets interesting.”
The main character is Eli, recently arrived in Pennsylvania from Germany with his parents and two younger sisters. His story starts on Pennsylvania soil, as the family is traveling to some relatives in German Town on their way to their new land in Skippack. His parents are looking forward to settling in, his mother thankful there is a school in Skippack so Eli can get on with his much-delayed education.
Eli is not so excited – about school that is.
The book is about Eli’s adjustment to school – one which wiggly boys and girls will appreciate. Eli would much rather be building something with his hands than learning his letters. But encouragement from his parents and his teacher, Master Christopher, keeps him going – despite many mishaps along the way.
I appreciate Eli’s heart desire to please his parents and his teacher, and his seemingly inability to do so. My children laughed aloud at some of the antics, and gasped in anticipation of disaster as we read others. At the end of this short book, we were all very pleased with Eli’s success, and sat back with a sigh of contentment.
Younger elementary-aged children will enjoy hearing The Skippack School read to them. The vocabulary and German pronunciation of some words will challenge some older elementary-aged children if they read it on their own, but not so much to discourage them. And they will learn about life in frontier Pennsylvania as well.