Energetic, book-loving Miss Brooks is back, as is Missy, the grumpy, stumpy, hat-wearing reluctant reader–turned-bookworm who is her biggest fan (Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t), 2010).
This time around, though, there’s a new wrinkle: a boy named Billy who likes to torment Missy and steal her precious hats. Missy mostly manages to avoid him, but sometimes she can’t help but pass by his house, and that’s where the trouble always occurs. When a storm knocks out the lights at school one morning, Miss Brooks decides to take advantage of the atmosphere and have the kids tell stories instead of listening to her read aloud. Although her classmates suggest focusing on aliens, kittens or ghosts, Missy finds herself unexpectedly brainstorming a solution to her problem while concocting a semi-scary story about a neighborhood ogre named Graciela and her very large boa constrictor. Over-the-top silliness in Emberley’s appealing illustrations contrasts with Bottner’s deadpan delivery to amplify the humor, while clever details in the pictures reward close examination. Characters come alive with distinct voices and appearances, and the twin plots flow smoothly, if purposively, to the requisite “happy ending.”
While sequels can sometimes be disappointing, readers and listeners who enjoyed Miss Brooks’ first appearance will likely be very happy to find out what happens next—and they just might be inspired to create some tall tales of their own. (Picture book. 4-8)