Jerry Versus the Test

Salvatore A. Barcia Jr. (Author) | Jessica Thaler (Illustrator)

Jerry is a regular kid who likes school. But one day things change, and Jerry must face . . . the test! Follow Jerry and friends through the twists, turns, difficulties and challenges of school and test prep. Will Jerry conquer this challenge? Who will help Jerry through?


Before I launch into this review, I’m going to wholeheartedly endorse the author’s dedication to “every student, parent, teacher, principal, school aide, support staff and concerned citizen who believes the noble pursuit of education is much more than a standardized test score.”


Great intent, noble aim, and I applaud the author’s goal. Unfortunately, a lot of the story was clunky. Sentences were awkward (e.g. “sometimes the class became a giant counter to learn math.”), and pronounce usage switched at random (e.g. “they had to take a big test… if you do badly”). There were also tense changes mid-sentence.

The flow of the story is a bit odd too. Text ranges from a single sentence or a few words on a page to LONG paragraphs on others.


The illustrations throughout seem to be low-res scans of pencil sketches. I like where the artist was going with this, but it needs a lot of polishing – and (I’d prefer) a bit of color.


Same situation. This isn’t a book cover that appeals to kids. It doesn’t even appeal to adults. This book is obviously a passion project for the author, and a small investment in professional editing, illustration and layout/cover design would have done wonders.


About the Author

Salvatore A. Barcia Jr. has been an elementary school teacher since 2006. Prior to teaching, he worked in public relations. He is a proud alumnus of Rutgers University (go RU!), receiving a Masters in Education at the College of Staten Island. A self-taught drummer, he has performed with marching bands, drum and bugle corps, and rock bands. He has also toured as a percussionist for children’s theater, which first opened his eyes to the joy of working with children.

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