It isn't fair, it isn't even rational; it's just one of those things that happens. Carrie Macphail's pretty, popular fifth-grade teacher, Miss Ryan, plays favorites--and Carrie is not among them. She's careless, a daydreamer, and doesn't always play by the rules; Miss Ryan likes tidy direction-followers. But all Carrie wants is for Miss Ryan to like her. A major oral social-studies project seems to be her last hope, and she has great plans for something original and interesting. When Miss Ryan dismisses it as ""different,"" Carrie suddenly stops feeling awed by Miss Ryan and even dares to challenge her teacher's selection of projects entered in a science fair, thereby sticking up for the class nerd and ultimately winning the approval of her classmates (although not, the reader suspects, of Miss Ryan). This is a winning story of a likable character stuck in a frustrating situation with which young readers will identify. Miss Ryan's behavior is maddeningly believable, and Carrie's metamorphosis from approval-seeker to self-assurance is pulled off well.