My New Teacher and Me!

Overview

"Weird Al" Yankovic's new tale of Billy, the irrepressible star of the New York Times bestselling When I Grow Up, is an uproarious back-to-school delight. Dazzling wordplay and sparkling rhyme combine in a unique appreciation of the rewards of unabashed originality and the special joy of viewing the world gently askew.

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Overview

"Weird Al" Yankovic's new tale of Billy, the irrepressible star of the New York Times bestselling When I Grow Up, is an uproarious back-to-school delight. Dazzling wordplay and sparkling rhyme combine in a unique appreciation of the rewards of unabashed originality and the special joy of viewing the world gently askew.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Yankovic and Hargis balance earnestness with goofiness in a story that pits the mundane against the incredible. On the first day of class, Billy arrives with more stories than a skyscraper, and his glowering new teacher’s objections only egg him on. As his yarns grow increasingly preposterous (“I just went on vacation with my dad and mom/ To an island somewhere between Norway and Guam/ Where the blueberry muffins grow right on the trees,/ And you flip inside out every time that you sneeze”), Mr. Booth attempts to restore order, and Billy responds with a defense of unconventional thinkers (Marie Curie, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi make cameos) like himself. Ages 4–8. (July)
Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
In this sequel to When I Grow Up, Billy is back for a new school year with a brand new teacher. Mr. Booth is a very serious teacher, with a serious lesson plan and a strict set of rules. When Billy arrives covered in mud and dirt on the first day of school, Mr. Booth is not happy. He is even less thrilled when Billy spins a wild tale about discovering a real-life dinosaur skeleton in his back yard before school. And when Billy insists that he has experienced many more highly unlikely adventures, Mr. Booth is livid. Although Billy reminds his new teacher that many of mankind’s greatest achievements were the result of men and women who dared to look at the world a bit differently, Mr. Booth is not impressed. He sends Billy to the principal’s office, but just as the boy is leaving the classroom, a small bit of evidence hints that at least some of Billy’s fantastical tales might be true. In true Yankovic style, the message of the power of thinking outside the box comes through loud and clear with a catchy rhyme scheme and clever phrasing that is sure to make this a favorite read-aloud story for all ages. Hargis’ captivating illustrations add much to the narrative, providing hints and details that will leave readers wondering and speculating about whether Billy’s adventures are real or imagined. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles; Ages 5 up.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—On the first day of school, Billy's curmudgeonly teacher reprimands him. "You! Young man! Why's that filth on your shirt?/You can't come in my classroom all covered with dirt!" Billy engagingly explains that while digging to China before school he found a dinosaur skull and had no time to clean up. Unimpressed by Billy's imaginative tale, Mr. Booth listens in disbelief as the boy, much to his classmates' delight, spins more "highly unlikely" stories, involving two-headed cows, his grandfather's walk on the Moon, and a fantastic island vacation. Billy refuses to admit his tales are untrue, saying, "I'll bet every great thinker and leader we've got/Could see all kinds of things other people could not!" Mr. Booth sends him to the principal's office, but as Billy heads for the door, a photo slips from his book. It's a gift for the teacher. Staring at the picture of Billy with a two-headed cow, Mr. Booth relents. Happy to have avoided the principal, Billy realizes that he and Mr. Booth will get along just fine and will learn a lot from each other during the school year. Written in clever rhymes, this second title starring amiable Billy has eye-catching watercolor, pencil, and digital acrylic illustrations. The fun-filled spreads add hilarious and imaginative details to the story. Pair this entertaining book with Ella Hudson's Hudson Hates School (Frances Lincoln, 2011).—Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA
Kirkus Reviews
A by-the-rules teacher and a tall-tale–telling student don't see eye to eye on the first day of school in Yankovic's rhyming salute to the power of the imagination. Observant readers will notice right away that Mr. Booth is an uptight kind of guy: The rules everywhere are a big clue. Sure enough, the teacher singles out narrator Billy immediately, asking why he is so filthy. The answer? Billy was digging to China and unearthed a dinosaur skull. When Mr. Booth calls him on his bluff, Billy goes on to relate more stories, each more elaborate and far-fetched than the last. But in the end, Mr. Booth gets some proof that maybe Billy isn't telling such tall tales after all, proof that he hangs on the wall as a reminder. While kids will certainly get into the spirit and fun of the book, Billy gets a bit preachy, though nonetheless inspirational, toward the end: "I'll bet every great thinker and leader we've got / Could see all kinds of things other people could not! / So then why get upset if somebody like me / Tries to look at the world just a bit differently?" The ending is just open-ended enough to make readers wonder about the veracity of Billy's tales. Hargis' watercolor, pencil and digital acrylic illustrations are brightly colored and full of tiny details for readers to pore over. Sure to feed imaginations. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062192035
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 134,588
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.04 (w) x 10.14 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Al Yankovic

Known for more than thirty years as America's premier satirist of popular music and culture, "Weird Al" Yankovic has had almost as many careers as Billy can dream of. Advised by his father to do whatever made him happy, he has accordingly been a comedian, singer/songwriter, music producer, actor, director, and writer—often all at the same time. Mr. Yankovic has won three Grammy Awards and has sold more comedy recordings than anyone else in history. He lives with his family in Southern California.

Wes Hargis wanted to be a professional dirt miner when he grew up. Unstable market prices for dirt led him to pursue his second love, and he has been an illustrator for more than fifteen years. Mr. Hargis lives with his family (and his dirt) in Arizona.

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