Monday, June 05, 2006


MRS. MCBLOOM, CLEAN UP YOUR CLASSROOM! by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Guy Francis (Hyperion)

They say that a little mess is a sign of genius, and if this is the case, kids in Room Five are being led by a teacher with the intellectual caliber of Einstein. Her accumulation of instructional materials have inspired twenty two janitors to grumble, "Mrs. McBroom, clean up your classroom!" And Mrs. McBloom has planned to...see, it's right there on her to-do list, before "take a fancy-shmancy cruise." But with retirement looming, in true veteran fashion, she entrusts her students with finding a solution. They've got a doozy: the biggest garage sale that the town has ever seen. What will Mrs. McBloom do with the proceeds? Read this clever ending to find out!

Told in folksy down-home language worthy of a true teaching tall-tale, every zany page holds visual jokes in the pile-up: look for homework signed by John Hancock, a copy of Recess: The Complete Guide, a disintegrator ray, an Elvis lunchbox, thirteen petrified cupcakes, a dinosaur fossil, a full grown apple tree and of course, more class pets than you can shake a stick of chalk at. This read-aloud rollicks with the tounge-in-cheek humor of two artists who have really tuned in to the world of the classroom with the finest eye since Miss Frizzle!

It's so nice to have a book that grown-ups and kids can enjoy side by side. There isn't a teacher who will not laugh out loud with self-recognition at this celebration of the pack-rat nature of pedagogy, and children will love picking their way through the fabulous fray along with the characters.
With the end of the school year approaching, it's time to think about the perfect thank-you gift to give to that hard-working educator, and this may be the one (besides a gift certificate, massage or manicure). Though especially apropos as a gift for those ready for retirement, the story ends with the suggestion of the start of a mess being made by a pretty young novice. Ahhh, such is the circle of life. (6 and up)

Another recent school story of interest:
Nicholas by René Goscinny, illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempé (Phaidon)(Reissued beloved classic and 2006 Batchelder Award winner about the misadventures of a French schoolboy, in some of the most fashionable book packaging I have ever seen: the cover is tweed and cloisonné. If the Devil wears Prada, the Devil reads Nicholas! If this book puts some bop in your beret, check out the sequel, Nicholas Again.

Special thanks to author and speaker Susan Taylor Brown for the very good deed she did by syndicating this blog at (I'm still not exactly positive what that means, but it sounds mighty cool!) She also has an amazing database of teacher's guides...check it out!

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.


Anonymous said...

What a fantastic way to share great literature Esme! Thanks for increasing my children's book spending (yet again!) I look forward to reading brand new book reviews every week!

Enjoy your upcoming summer weather! (Here in Melbourne Victoria it is starting to get chilly!)
Love Tessa (remember me?)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Esme. I can't wait to tell my fifth graders about your blog.
I admire your goal of a book a day and look forward to reading the entries.


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