Author: Rosemary Wells
Publisher- Puffin Pied Piper
First Published- January 1st, 1981
Timothy is on his way to his first day of school with new clothes his mother made him. When he meets Claude his "Hello!" gets the reaction of how you aren't supposed to wear a sunsuit on the first day of school. Every day he comes home upset by Claude's words and wishes he would mess up while his mother worries over him and tries to console him. But it's no use. Claude always does everything right academically, with sports, and has many friends around him. It's when he meets Violet who is also feeling the same kinds of things toward Grace who always everything perfect that he finds a true friend.
I've read this book a couple of times and I now can see the small controversy of it that I've seen in reviews. By laughing about Claude and Grace at the end of the book I could see how parents can interpret it as meaning that Timothy and Violet are acting mean themselves by laughing at someone who is different than them or is not so nice to them. You know you're supposed to forgive and forget and be nice to everyone.
I also see where others are coming from as well. They are laughing that they cared so much what they thought when they had each other. Frankly when I was a kid I just saw it as a nice story about a kid who goes to school who takes a while to find a friend. It's really about being the new kid, the outcast, the unpopular kid and how the popular kid might treat that type of person. In the end everything is resolved when you find someone like you. It's really a lovely story about finding good friends and accepting who you are isn't what you wear!