Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Teachers seem so at home in the classroom that it's entirely possible that they eat dinner and sleep there as well. In this tongue-in-cheek expos, reminiscent of Judy Finch and Kevin O'Malley's Miss Malarkey Doesn't Live in Room 10, a boy imagines that his teacher, Mrs. Quirk, spends her off-hours eating cafeteria leftovers, doing calisthenics with gym teacher Miss Whistle and listening to librarian Mr. Peruse read stories. The narrator even explains a longstanding mystery: teachers "keep pajamas and inflatable mattresses in their bottom left desk drawer, the one that locks with a key." Krensky (Dinosaurs, Beware!) wittily constructs then deflates the narrator's hypothesis: after the young sleuth spies Mrs. Quirk at the mall and in the park, he concludes that she's leading a "secret life. I just wonder when the other teachers will get suspicious." Adinolfi (The Egyptian Polar Bear) provides fanciful, almost surreal artwork, with lollipop-shaped trees and flowers that echo Mrs. Quirk's round glasses. The illustrator favors curves and circles, with few hard angles, and paints in carnival-bright fuchsia, chartreuse, red-orange and bright blue. Such wacky art, while pleasing to the eye, works against the deadpan humor of the narrative. Ages 4-6. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
Well, this book answers the question children throughout time have been asking themselves: Just what DOES the teacher do with herself after the kids have left school for the day? Turns out, the teachers, at least the ones at Mrs. Quirk's school, live at the school. The wild illustrations complement the wacky tone of this little fantasy and add fun to its gentle invitation to empathy.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2Playing on children's common misconception that teachers live at school, Krensky and Adinolfi spin an amusing tale of what occurs in the building after three o'clock. The custodian leads a trash patrol, the gym teacher makes the teachers do exercises, dinner is served in the cafeteria, and a bedtime story is read by the librarian. The teachers just unlock their bottom left desk drawers (where they keep inflatable mattresses and pajamas) and prepare for pillow fights in the hall. When the young narrator spots his teacher at the supermarket, mall, and park, he concludes that Mrs. Quirk must have a secret life and wonders "...when the other teachers will get suspicious." Bold, full-color cartoons splash characters through settings as unrealistic as the child's imaginations. Teachers bear allegorical namesMiss Painter, the art teacher; Mr. Peruse, the librarian; etc. However, students and school personnel are presented in non-stereotypical gender and racial roles. A book that should provide giggles and spark lively discussions.Claudia Cooper, Ft. Stockton Independent School District, TX
A boy figures he's got the scoop on his teacher's life once the last bell rings: Mrs. Quirk tidies the halls with the rest of the teachers, works out with the gym teacher, sups on leftovers from the cafeteria, listens to a story, and, along with her colleagues, unfurls an air mattress from her desk drawer at bedtime. One day the boy spies his teacher, Mrs. Quirk, at the supermarket. Later he observes her buying a pair of roller skates, then watches on another day as Mrs. Quirk skates in the company of a little girl (who looks like her) and a man who puts his arm around her.
Krensky (The Printer's Apprentice, 1995, etc.) faithfully captures the discombobulation that attends running into authority figures outside their contexts. The narrative is fresh and bright, its tempo clips along, and when the boy unexpectedly catches his teacher out of school, he never misses a beat. Adinolfi's eccentric, color-drenched artwork makes the after-hours classrooms look somewhat eerie, but mostly snug.