Review Detail

 
Kids Fiction
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

Teachers right the best books about school!

Mr. Wolf is starting his first year of teaching fourth grade. He sets up his classroom and waits for his students to arrive. He is pleased with their behavior on the rug, but struggles a bit when he ventures out to the office. Another teacher steals his stapler, and he runs a bit late when he's having a doughnut in the teachers' lounge. After he picks up his class from the library, they go back to their room, but one student, Penny, is missing! Mr. Wolf sends a student to the bathroom to check, and lets the principal know, but even when lunch starts, Penny is not back. She does show up at the end of recess, which Mr. Wolf extends, and the class ends the day with show and tell. On the bus home, Margot, who just moved to town, befriends Sampson, and they bond over a shared love of seashells. There is a second book in the works, entitled Mystery Club, due out February 26th 2019.

Good Points
Graphic novels have a tendency to have very intricate pictures and small text, which can make them a challenge for struggling readers, who are often draw to this genre. The Graphix line does a much better job of utilizing simple, well colored illustrations combined with just enough text to augment the story and help us understand what the characters are thinking, and not just what they are doing.

I love the little details that fifth grade teacher and author Steinke throws in. Mr. Wolf's desk chairs have tennis balls stuck on the bottoms, the students have rulers in the library to use to keep the place of books they take off the shelves, and there are mugs of pencils on the students' tables. The students all have different issues in their lives that affect how they interact in school, much like books such as Buyea's Because of Mr. Terupt.

Interestingly, this struck me as a sort of B is for Betsy in graphic novel form! You have the variety of students (who are all different animals, ala Marc Brown's Arthur), supportive adults, and very pedestrian activities that are nonetheless pleasantly interesting. This will be an enormous hit in elementary schools everywhere, and my 6th graders will pick the book up as well.

Plus, what student doesn't day dream about taking a long nap somewhere during the school day?
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