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I Know an Old Teacher

( 3 )


Meet Miss Bindley—an ordinary teacher with an unusual appetite. Miss Bindley doesn't eat the usual fare like tuna melts and meatloaf. Instead, when her stomach grumbles, it's the class pets she has her eye—er, stomach—on. Watch out! You never know who might be next…

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Meet Miss Bindley—an ordinary teacher with an unusual appetite. Miss Bindley doesn't eat the usual fare like tuna melts and meatloaf. Instead, when her stomach grumbles, it's the class pets she has her eye—er, stomach—on. Watch out! You never know who might be next…

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jamaica Johnson Conner
"I know an old lady who swallowed a fly; I don't know why she swallowed that fly. Perhaps, she'll die." In the spirit of this classic campfire song, Bowen shares the story of an old teacher, Miss Bindley, a true kindred spirit of the infamous old lady who also boasts an ever-growing appetite. While a group of students spy on her, Miss Bindley devours a flea, a spider, a fish, etcetera, and as she feasts on one class pet after another, her students begin to wonder if children are on the menu too. The illustrations, which exhibit watercolors of pastel quality, depict Miss Bindley's gluttony perfectly. The names of Miss Bindley's victims and other words are also hidden within the illustrations, providing the reader with an additional game of finding the hidden words throughout the book. The familiar plot line, with a new twist, harmonizing with spectacularly detailed illustrations, will appeal to the child sitting by the campfire (or in this case, in the classroom). Reviewer: Jamaica Johnson Conner
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

Miss Bindley takes the class pets home for a long weekend and develops an eerie, extraordinary craving. Following the traditional cumulative rhyme, all of them disappear in a round of Fear Factor -inspired eating-a flea, spider, fish, rat, Jake the Snake, and, as students cry in horror, "She's got our Lizzie!"-the class lizard. Miss Bindley, in turn, grows less appealing with the turn of each page. Hair becomes flyaway and frizzy, her cozy robe falls into a frumpy sack, and her face turns-well, a bilious green. Gammell's lively artwork is a colorful combination of watercolor, colored pencils, pastel, and crayon framed by a mix of font sizes and colors. Assisted by conversational responses from Miss Bindley's students, who are spying on her, the tale progresses as tails disappear until the unlikely becomes the outrageous-"I know an old teacher who swallowed a child...." Would she really try that? The horrifying notion is entertained, but to the relief of readers, is tossed aside in this unusual offering.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX

Kirkus Reviews
When faced with a long weekend, Miss Bindley decides to bring the class pets home with her, promising her students she'll take good care of them. But when a flea falls from her unkempt hair into her tea and she inadvertently swallows it, she has to get rid of it somehow. So she swallows the spider that crawls down her wall in the hopes that it will gobble the flea. The spying students cannot believe their eyes as the creatures their teacher swallows get larger and more beloved-they are the class pets, after all! When at last all the pets are gone, a student spies Miss Bindley staring at his friend. " 'Swallow a child?' / The old teacher smiled . . . / 'I would never do that!' " Gammell's gleefully messy illustrations give children an original view of teachers' private lives. His characters are full of personality, and textures seem to leap off the pages. This updated version matches the original in futility and repugnancy, but trumps it with a happier, deathless, ending. Class pets beware. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822579847
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 452,814
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 260L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.70 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Bowen is the author of several books for children, including What DO Teachers Do (after YOU Leave School)? And Tooth Fairy's First Night. Ms. Bowen was an elementary school teacher for more than thirty years and lives in Ogden, Utah.

Stephen Gammell is the illustrator of numerous children's books, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Song and Dance Man and two Caldecott Honor books, The Relatives Came and Where the Buffaloes Begin. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2010

    Great children's book!

    The story and pictures may seem a little gross, with eating a spider,rat,snake,flea,and so forth, but children love this book. My 2 year old and 3 year old ask me to read it over and over again every night!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2008

    gross--children will love it

    This book really grossed me out, so I'm sure children of all ages will love it! Teacher Miss Bindley seems like such a sweet loveable lady to her students until a flea drops in her tea. She drinks the tea, flea and all, to the horror and amazement of her class. But, it doesn't stop there. What 'other goodies' does Miss Bindley devour? You'll just have to read this hilarious book to find out! Anne Bowen does an excellent job on her rhyming, rollicking text that builds on each new item the teacher eats in a clever way. Truly funny illustrations by Stephen Gammell makes this book a 'must read' for the children in your life that enjoy the odd and gross! Gayle Jacobson-Huset Managing Editor Stories for Children Magazine

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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