An unlikely, unlikable story about a fourth grader who is horrified at the prospect of her mother substituting in her class at Sacred Heart Elementary while the teacher recuperates from a broken leg. Collette is sure her mother will reveal embarrassing family secrets, and fears both that the class will misbehave while her mother stands helpless and that Mom will be so strict that she will alienate Collette's friends. Anyway, shouldn't motherhood be totally fulfilling? Nonetheless, they do get through a week that includes such crises as Collette's absence (sore throat), a fire in the classroom, and theft of the lunch money. Collette even comes to have more faith in her mother's abilities and good sense. Collette is petulant and unappealing; her friend Marsha is such a braggart that it's difficult to believe that anyone would want to speak to her or care what she said. And McKenna's attempts at humor often jar (e.g., the suggestion that a friend will think the family is Amish because Collette and her sister share a Big Bird alarm clock). In sum, there's little to recommend this.