With so many people all gathered together, school is a place where the unexpected is likely to happen. The teacher is ready: her lesson is on the board, her textbook is in hand, a smile in on her face. Then, the students arrive. Suddenly, chaos reigns: sacks of lunches crash on the floor, the ant farm is knocked over, the show-and-tell snake escapes, the birthday cupcakes spill, the loose tooth is lost, the hamster escapesand much more! An escalating rhyme in the vein of "The House that Jack Built," this wild, wacky story is sure to delight kids, parents, and teachers alike with its many hilarious catastrophes. It should come as no surprise that this crazy chronicle is the brainchild of a former teacher, Rhonda Gowler Greene. Mike Lester's bold, zany illustrations build with dizzying energy toward the story's end, when even the teacher falls over. 2004, Dutton, Ages 4 to 8.
Heidi Hauser Green
K-Gr 3-This cumulative tale la "The House That Jack Built" details the escapades of a lively group of students. The show-and-tell snake escapes, birthday cupcakes topple, the ant farm breaks, a kamikaze bee attacks, a clogged water fountain floods the hall-and that's not all. Watercolor washes over thick black lines depict the chaos of this classroom gone amok. Splotches and spills abound, enhanced by the sketchy quality of the art; the energetic lines of Lester's cartoons capture the vibrant action. A rhyming couplet introduces each new incident and is followed by rhythmic phrases that emphasize onomatopoeia. With "splats," "eeks," "whacks," and "plops," disasters mount until lunchtime. Then the catastrophes begin anew. On the last page, the poor teacher, harried and exhausted, flops into bed at the end of the day. The story is sure to elicit giggles from the early elementary set and perhaps a bit of sympathy for their teachers as well.-Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Every teacher knows that some days, no matter how ready for school they are in the morning, they'll leave fit only for bed. In this story told in cumulative rhyme, everything that can go wrong does all in one day. Ants and boas and hamsters escape. Bees and baseballs and rain intrude. Floods flow from water fountains and cupcakes fly. A tooth is lost and so is one student's lunch. Is it any wonder that the teacher of the title can only collapse with her cat when she gets home? Greene's cause-and-effect public service announcement for Murphy's Law and Lester's wacky, inspired illustrations are perfect together. Readers will laugh at the details and enjoy hunting for the hamster on every spread (after he escapes). This one is a perfect back-to-school read-aloud or even a story to end the year. (Picture book. 4-9)