cover image Teacher's Pets

Teacher's Pets

Dayle Ann Dodds, , illus. by Marylin Hafner. . Candlewick, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2252-7

In this sunny story from Dodds (The Great Divide ) and Hafner (the Lunch Bunnies series), a tolerant teacher ends up with a menagerie in her classroom. New furry and feathered animals arrive each week but never depart after the perky, redheaded Miss Fry allows her human pupils to bring pets for show and tell—"just for the day." A rooster is the first to remain: its owner asks Miss Fry, " 'The neighbors wonder if Red can stay at school for a while.' 'Of course,' said Miss Fry. 'How lucky for us.' " The sarcasm may be missed by young readers, but the funny, escalating situation may well be a hit. Among the critters seemingly more welcome at school than at home are Alia's goat, Jerry's boa constrictor and Lily's monkey (shown swinging from the ceiling light). The cheery ink, watercolor and colored pencil illustrations warm the pages with a playful vibrancy, from Miss Fry's striped leggings and bright scarves to the humorous spread of Parents' Night with the animals munching the adults' snacks. The patient teacher is rewarded in the end. After finally disbanding the mini-zoo, she discovers on her desk the only critter for which she had developed a particular fondness—a cricket named Moe. All readers will delight in the way her new pet repays Miss Fry's kindness. Ages 5-up. (May)