Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Review: My Teacher's Not Here! by Lana Button

As soon as she arrives at school, Kitty knows there's trouble. “Smiling Miss Seabrooke should be here to meet me. But my teacher is missing and NOT here to greet me.” With no Miss Seabrooke, everyone should be sent home, right? But no! Kitty and her classmates line up as usual and walk into the school building. Kitty's worries build as she wonders how she will get through the day without her teacher. What will she do when her Thermos gets stuck or her jacket won't zip? Miss Seabrooke is the only one who can fix these things. Or is she? Author Lana Button perfectly captures the fears and uncertainties of a kindergartner dealing with her first substitute teacher. She also models a way to cope, as Kitty steps up to help the substitute --- a “ginormously tall” giraffe named Mr. Omar --- and discovers that sometimes change can be good. Button's playful and lively cadenced rhyming text, together with Christine Battuz's friendly illustrations of a full cast of animal characters at school, make this a terrific picture book for story time. It provides an excellent lead-in to prepare a class for their first substitute, or for a discussion about how it feels when life doesn't go as expected. A celebration of self-discovery and personal development, this book also makes a wonderful choice for character education lessons on kindness, empathy and perseverance. Educators will appreciate the heartfelt depiction of a young child's warm feelings for her teachers.
This was a fun book to read.

I didn't expect it to be a rhyming book, but it was a welcome surprise for me. Most of the children's books we have at home are not rhyming books and I've been looking for more books that have rhymes. I was impressed with the rhymes because they felt natural throughout the book. 

The book was a little longer than I expected. I read this aloud to my son, and I did feel a little fatigued during the second half of the book. I liked the story a lot, though. It was very cute.

I loved the illustrations as well. They were rendered using hand drawing and digital collage, and it just works for me. The drawings are very colorful and there's a lot going on that you can discuss with your child.

 My son hasn't had the opportunity to have a stranger become his substitute teacher since the teachers at his school sub for each other if someone isn't available. He did identify Miss Seabrooke by his teacher's name as the story progressed and he saw how Kitty interacted with her teacher.

My son was also familiar with the activities the children were doing in the book because they do the same things at his school. He identified the activities the kids were doing, and even pointed out to me two children who were having a tug-of-war over the car. He was angry at the character who seemed to be taking the car from the rightful owner.

The book may be a little long for his attention span, since his attention wandered every so often, but all I had to do was ask him a question about what the characters in the illustrations were doing and he would focus on the story again.

He comes in handy
when stacking a tower,
and knows how to
fluff tissue into a flower. 


Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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