Thursday, October 11, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

School! Adventures at the Harvey N. Trouble Elementary School, by Kate McMullan and George Booth, 160 pages.
@ SPL: J FIC McMul

Welcome to Harvey N. Trouble Elementary School, where nothing is ordinary and everything is extraordinary, wacky or even bizarre!
In this hall of learning, the confusion and chaos begin each Monday morning and continue until the final bell on Friday afternoon. Under the “leadership” of Principal Miss Ingashoe, Secretary Miss Celia Seeyalater and Custodian Iquit, events unfold at a furious pace, cheerfully aided and abetted by students such as Ron Faster, Chuckie Upkins, Adam Up, Sid Down, Oopsie Spiller, Abby Birthday, Izzy Normal, Dewey Haveto and Gladys Friday.
The book relates one particular week in the school, beginning with a school bus stuck in a ditch.
Readers will discover that no classroom, even the kindergarten room, is exempt from the constant madcap mishaps and misadventures which occur in this unusual school.
Kate McMullan’s hilarious chapter book will highly entertain children who enjoy quirky humour and “wordplay” (which is non-stop in this book), especially puns and homonyms. Embellished with George Booth’s comic-style illustrations, School! Adventures at the Harvey N. Trouble Elementary School would be a good choice for a classroom read-aloud, for readers who enjoy graphic novels or for reluctant readers. (Elements of the story which are repeated from chapter to chapter would further enhance the appeal to reluctant readers.)
Interviews with the author and the illustrator plus some wordplay activities are provided at the end of the book.
Kate McMullan, a former elementary school teacher, has written over 50 books for children, including the popular “Dragon Slayers Academy” books.
** Recommended for ages 7 to 10 years.

Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, by K.G. Campbell, 32 pages.
@ SPL: JP Campb

When Cousin Clara’s cottage was consumed by a crocodile (fortunately, she wasn’t in it), she came to live with Lester and his parents.
All was well until Cousin Clara, who loved to knit, decided to make a new sweater for Lester to wear to school.
Shriveled yet saggy, with holes and purple pom-poms everywhere, the sweater was hideous to behold and hideous to wear. To be polite, Lester wore it to school, where he was teased all day long.
Later, the sweater was found in the laundry, mysteriously shrunken, stringy and unwearable.
“No problem!” declared Cousin Clara and immediately began to knit again.
The second cardigan was just as dreadful as the first. It was pink with a tail and upside-down pockets all over.
After school was finished that day, the pink sweater was “somehow” shredded to pieces by the lawn mower.
“No problem!” said Cousin Clara, and started to knit again.
And so the week continued, each morning with a frightful new sweater for Lester to wear to school, and an inexplicably ruined sweater each evening.
Not once did Cousin Clara grow tired of knitting yet another cardigan – but how Lester dreaded wearing them each day!
Was he doomed to look ridiculous for the rest of his life?
Listeners will laugh when they discover how a troupe of clowns is able to save the day for Lester in this droll, witty tale, generously sprinkled with alliteration, wordplay and clever illustrations.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on October 11, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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