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Cover image for Can you keep a secret?
Can you keep a secret?
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, 1997.
Physical Description:
106 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Mike has a reputation for not being able to keep a secret and he worries that he may reveal things that his classmates do not want known--from a surprise party for one of the teachers to a snake in a friend's desk.
Reading Level:
Elementary Grade.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 2.9.
Added Author:


Call Number
J Petersen, P.

On Order



With great school scenes, a surefire subject for a first chapter book.Secrets are in the air. A big surprise birthday party is being planned. Someone in class has brought in a little snake that has gotten loose in the classroom. Mike would like to be in on these and the other secrets of his friends but no one ever wants to tell him anything because he can't keep things to himself. His classmate Amy knows a different kind of a secret a really important one. She's bursting to share it with someone, but she doesn't know whom she can confide in, and even if she should.P. J. Petersen has a knack for finding situations that will get readers attention and hold it. His special brand of light humor, genuine understanding of kids and school dynamics, and his realistic dialogue has made him popular with the young middle-grade crowd he writes about so well. Like The Sub , his best-selling novel, this book should appeal to a wide audience of girls and boys. Easyto read and right in tune with the concerns of kids, here's the perfect book for anyone who has ever kept a secret or told one.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4‘Mike and Amy both have secrets that they struggle for one entire school day to keep to themselves. Mike, notorious for being a blabbermouth in Mr. Warren's class, must not tell about his teacher's upcoming birthday party, and Amy must not disclose that she saw Mr. Warren kissing the kindergarten teacher. Her struggle is trusting Mike enough to tell him what she has seen, knowing that he might inadvertently let it slip out. Trust, friendship, knowing what to tell and what not to tell, and taking responsibility for mistakes are all themes in this chapter book. Johnson's black-and-white sketches capture some of the classroom antics but are not particularly engaging. The characters are flat and uninteresting, but the theme is so universally experienced that young readers should be able to identify with this otherwise lukewarm story.‘Linda Bindner, Athens Clarke County Library, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Mike and Amy and their classmates all have a surprise to keep from their teacher, but Mike has a terrible time not revealing anything. The humorous, realistic story of elementary school life ends happily, and both Mike and Amy are easy to empathize with. Realistic yet amusingly cartoonlike pencil drawings illustrate the goings-on at school. From HORN BOOK 1997, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A lighthearted tale about a boy intent on becoming trustworthy, from the author of White Water (p. 805). Mike is well liked by his sixth-grade classmates because he is kind and thoughtful, but he has a reputation for giving away secrets. He's not malicious; the secrets come out through his well-intentioned helpfulness, or his face gives him away. The comments of his classmates--e.g., ``He'll tell the whole school''--bother him so much that when he becomes party to several secrets, including some important ones, he is determined to prove that he can keep them. Unfortunately for readers, he keeps some of the secrets by lying, and Petersen doesn't address that. Nevertheless, his tone is gentle throughout, and the novel is one that could prompt good discussions. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-10)

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5. Everyone knows Mike can't keep a secret no matter how hard he tries, and even when he doesn't say anything, his face always gives him away. His friends think it's funny, but each time it happens, Mike becomes more disappointed in himself. Now he is really nervous. His class is planning a surprise party for the teacher, Mr. Warren, and Mike's friend Amy has entrusted him with a really surprising secret. In fact, there are too many secrets. Will Mike be able to hold out, especially during an after-school detention in Mr. Warren's room? Any child who has unintentionally blurted out a secret will appreciate Petersen's clever story, with steadily building tension tempered by lots of humor. --Chris Sherman