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David Mackintosh was born in Belfast and grew up in Australia. He is a graphic designer, art director and illustrator. His innovative book designs have won him numerous awards in Britain and internationally, and has collaborated with some of the most celebrated names in children's publishing. David lives in London, draws a lot, has a bicycle and built a plastic model of a lunar module while creating this book.
"I think this book is fantastic because I can read it myself and I love the pictures and the way it looks. The story is really, really good and fantastic because it's strange and weird." Child's review on the Guardian's children's book site. "A sophisticated combination of faux-naive pencil drawing, collage and varied layouts makes David Mackintosh's Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School striking." Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times Culture "...a beautifully illustrated first book from the writer and illustrator David Mackintosh." Daisy Bridgewater, Telegraph Magazine "Even very young readers will ... enjoy how Mackintosh's beautifully underplayed text and genial drawings manage to be empathic to both the leery narrator and the serenely outre object of his misapprehension. Without a whiff of pedantry, Mackintosh skillfully dismantles the narrator's defenses and bonds him to Marshall Armstrong, all the while proving that fun doesn't always fit within the confines of one's comfort zone." Publishers Weekly
Marshall Armstrong is anemically pale, dresses like an extra from Brideshead Revisited, eats "space food" in silver wrappers with labels ("Dog, Hot X1"), abstains from both recess and the sun (doctor's orders and "the ozone layer," respectively), and doesn't own a TV. "He prefers the paper. His dad says it gives him a good perspective." So not only is Marshall Armstrong new, he "doesn't fit in at our school. Not one bit," declares the narrator, who must sit next to this unflappable dweeb in school and is dreading a birthday party at Marshall's house. Even very young readers will guess that the narrator is in for a big surprise (hint: Best. Party. Ever), but they'll still enjoy how Mackintosh's beautifully underplayed text and genial drawings manage to be empathic to both the leery narrator and the serenely outre object of his misapprehension. Without a whiff of pedantry, Mackintosh (Rex) skillfully dismantles the narrator's defenses and bonds him to Marshall Armstrong, all the while proving that fun doesn't always fit within the confines of one's comfort zone. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
K-Gr 2-The new boy is very different from the other kids in class. Their teacher gives him a desk at the front of the room, next to the narrator, a boy who compares Marshall's ear to a shell, his lips to a tropical fish, and his freckles to birdseed. His white arms are dotted with red mosquito bites, and he sits on the medicine balls and reads during recess. Marshall eats "space food" in silver wrappers at lunch. When he invites everyone to his birthday party at his large, unusual house, his classmates get to know the real Marshall, who plays the piano, studies the sky, and slides down the fireman's pole. The narrator has a great time at the party, accepts Marshall, and is genuinely ready to welcome the next new student. The cartoon-style line art uses bold colors offset with plenty of white detail. Marshall and his classmates have large heads on small bodies, and their faces are quietly expressive. Whether Marshall is physically fragile (restricted activities and special diet) or simply marching to a different drummer (odd clothes and space science) remains unclear. This ambiguity, highlighted by quirky details in the illustrations, will speak to the many youngsters who feel out of place among their classmates. Pair this story with Mary E. Whitcomb's Odd Velvet (Chronicle, 1998) for a beginning-of-school storytime in which everyone is appreciated.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.