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Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

An amusing little human-like mouse named Lilly learns about conflict and listening to her teacher.  Lilly loves life and her teacher Mr. Slinger. He wears cool shirts with crazy ties. He also provides yummy snacks for all his students and Lilly wants to be a teacher just like him. One day Lilly brings her new purple plastic purse that plays music to school. She irritates everyone and noisily displays it inappropriately. Mr. Slinger takes the purple purse away from Lilly until the end of the day. Lilly becomes angry and draws a mean portrait of her teacher and writes mean words on it. When Mr. Slinger's back is turned, Lilly puts the note inside his book bag.

At the end of the school day Mr. Slinger gives the purse back but Lilly is still angry and yells that she does not want to be a teacher any more. When Lilly gets outside and opens her purse she discovers a nice note from Mr. Slinger which said, Today was difficult. Tomorrow will be a better day. As she reads each word of the note, she feels smaller and smaller. He also left  some tasty snacks. Lilly is overcome with guilt and decides to make up with her teacher the next day.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse teaches a lesson about discipline and anger management. The book demonstrates that discipline is not punishment when Mr. Slinger shows understanding and compassion to Lilly. Learning to question and respect authority is a very delicate balance and an important lesson for children to learn. This is reinforced in Lilly's  home by her loving parents. Unfortunately, many children grow up thinking discipline is all about punishment when in fact it is about teaching character.

Carma Dutra is the owner of Carma's Word, a creative writing and editing service, a freelance writer and children's writer. Visit her blog at to read about tips on writing, author interviews, and a variety of topics regarding children. Carma is currently enrolled in the Institute of Children's Literature, a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and a member of the National Writing for Children Center.

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