THIS IS THE TEACHER

Rhonda Gowler Greene, Author, Mike Lester, Illustrator , illus. by Mike Lester. Dutton $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-47125-7

Even teacher's pets can appreciate a good tweaking of classroom authority. In a This-Is-the-House-that-Jack-Built–style cumulative rhyme and a sense of comic chaos reminiscent of a vintage Mad magazine parody, Greene (The Very First Thanksgiving Day ) and Lester (A Is for Salad ) deliver a tale about a school day gone bad. They let the hounds loose on the well-meaning, bright-eyed teacher who's "all ready for school"—but totally unprepared for "the students who rush through the door,/ who drop sacks of lunches that smash! on the floor/ and topple the teacher all ready for school." Several pages later, a loose show-and-tell snake, flying birthday cupcakes, a water fountain flood and a mural-painting exercise that degenerates into a colorful free-for-all have joined the fray. Not surprisingly, the teacher collapses at day's end, "all ready for bed"—at 3:30 p.m. (according to the clock at her bedside). Lester's cartoons capture the manic milieu with a wonderful repertoire of exaggerated expressions and visual slapstick—almost everything and everyone in the story is airborne at some point. Ages 5-up. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/28/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Genre: Children's
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