Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Peculiar happenings are the norm in the classroom that serves as the setting for this droll collection. Occasionally reminiscent of Louis Sachar's Wayside School stories, these cleverly crafted episodes likewise make the impossible highly entertainingand at times strangely plausible. Nimbly shifting perspectives, the narrator focuses on various students' encounters with such creatures as a genie who appears from a cloud of chalk dust and grants the ill-conceived wish of the class "Pain-in-the-Neck" to become the teacher; a hairy pest that takes over a girl's hopelessly messy desk; a witch who upstages the class braggart during a Halloween party; and a bug that whispers answers in a girl's ear, breaking her of the habit of copying off her classmates' papers. Lacing his stories with waggish wordplay and humorous asides, first-time author Evans conveys worthy messages with a lighthearted subtlety. A refreshing debut, and a good choice for a middle-grade classroom read-aloud. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Evans introduces us to the strangest elementary school classroom in the world. Di Fiori's pictures illustrate the strangeness perfectly-and the children who happen to be in it have some very odd adventures. Suspend all disbelief, because these adventures are fun!
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 5 UpThese 11 short stories all take place in the "classroom at the end of the hall" where strange things happen. Unfortunately, the actual tales do not hold up to the promise of the premise. The lead characters are all stereotypical, classroom types: The Trouble Maker, The Day Dreamer, The One with the Messy Desk, etc. The characters are cured of their problematic characteristics through some sort of supernatural intervention. The Troublemaker spends the day transformed into the tall teacher (who has no name) and realizes how hard it is to have a kid like himself in the class. Emily has a Messy-Desk Pest that teaches her the value of neatness. A child learns not to look at other student's papers for answers, another not to day-dream. Even Di Fiori's charming line drawings scattered throughout don't take these stories beyond a one-dimensional plane. These morality tales seem to be created for lesson plans rather than to amuse and inform their intended audience.Lisa Von Drasek, Brooklyn Public Library
nger for reading aloud. With an edge of fantasy, the 11 loosely connected stories in this beginning chapter book capture the daily goings-on in a typical third-grade classroom. The magic gives a push to the kids' self-esteem: the non-reader finds himself in a book and learns to read; the shy speaker gets help from the bug in her ear and then finds she can manage without him; the bragger gets her comeuppance from a real witch. Some of the messages are just too heavy and obvious. What children will enjoy is the funny exaggeration of a third-grade classroom--exactly what is in a messy desk; exactly what the class pest does to gross you out. The "tall teacher" in the background connects the stories, and he is, in fact, the most interesting character, in need of his coffee to stop his yawns in the morning, his ears bright red when he's angry. Larry Di Fiori's small cartoon illustrations are appropriately comic and deadpan.
The Classroom At The End Of The Hall ( Aug. 15, 1996; 132 pp.; 1-886910-07-3): A collection of stories about events in a weird classroom, where various creatures, including a genie, an intelligent doodlebug, and possibly a ghost, may live. Students learn the value of trying harder, doing their own work, appreciating their hardworking teacher, not daydreaming, and even keeping their desks neat. The instruction is only thinly cloaked in tall-tale humor and cartoony black-and-white drawings; Evans's first book is one educators may like but few children will finish.