cover image Keep Ms. Sugarman in the Fourth Grade

Keep Ms. Sugarman in the Fourth Grade

Elizabeth Levy. HarperCollins Publishers, $13.95 (85pp) ISBN 978-0-06-020426-6

Jackie, a notorious tomboy, is a self-proclaimed ``teacher's nightmare.'' But in fourth grade her image changes when Ms. Sugarman, a gifted teacher, discovers the girl's talent for writing poetry. Jackie is soon given ``teacher's pet'' status and it's a heady feeling--she enjoys school, a first for her. But the sky falls when Ms. Sugarman is suddenly appointed principal. Drastic measures are called for, and a frantic Jackie is not above using them. The prolific Levy ( Dracula Is a Pain in the Neck ) writes in tribute to a former teacher (named Sugarman) and conveys skillfully the impact good teaching has on students. The dialogue is often trite, however, and Jackie's frequent disrespectfulness toward her elders is an unattractive flaw. Some New Testament references bring a slightly religious tone to the story, yet it's an easy read that effectively illustrates teacher-pupil attachments. Ages 8-11. (Jan.)