The Office: A Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary

Robb Pearlman, illus. by Melanie Demmer. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-42838-5
The core dynamic of hit TV show The Office was childish behavior, so transferring the characters to an early elementary school setting should be a no-brainer. Certainly it doesn’t take a big leap of imagination to see Michael Scott, the book’s narrator, as an eager but highly disorganized line leader (“I don’t have a plan,” he says, looking at the reader as a “World’s Best Line Leader” sippy cup sits on his desk), and Dwight Schrute as his overly ambitious “Assistant to the Line Leader.” The rest of the cast is here, too, drawn by Demmer (A Place for Pluto) in a wide-eyed cartoon style with just enough distinctive features to recall the cast of the American series. Pearlman (Pink Is for Boys) layers in the interesting idea that Michael’s line anxieties aren’t wholly unwarranted—there are a lot of ways to organize a line, which could inspire some lively discussion and even fun classroom activities. But the repackaging stumbles with bland jokes (“A mistake plus Keleven equals seven!”) and in its portrayal of Toby, whose exclusion and bullying by others—played for rueful laughs in the television series—is downright mean here. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

Correction: This review has been updated for factual accuracy based on a change to its final text.

Reviewed on : 08/06/2020
Release date: 09/29/2020
Genre: Children's
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