A class hike to the weather observatory turns out to be more educational than anticipated for Miss Mingo and her eclectic group of students.
The steep trail has many kids complaining early on, while others display their adaptations for dealing with the rising temperature: Panda drapes herself over a tree branch, and Hippo appears to be sweating blood. Meanwhile, Frog tries to draw out the new student by asking for Groundhog's expert (NOT!) opinion on the wild changes in weather they are experiencing—dark clouds, hail, rain, a sudden drop in temperature and even a snowstorm! But the students and their teacher all demonstrate a resourcefulness and degree of cooperation that are admirable. Miss Mingo's rescue of her smallest students is sure to stick in readers' minds for its pure originality. Harper keeps the flow of the narrative going while at the same time presenting additional facts (via a slightly different typeface) that round out readers' understanding of the story. Children will learn how to estimate temperature from a cricket's chirping and the facts behind frizzy hair. Harper's watercolor-and-ink illustrations marvelously convey emotion as well as personality, from Groundhog's shy manner to the rather princesslike Alligator.
The appealing story and wide array of weather facts make this a breath of fresh air to round out and add interest to weather units that are heavy in nonfiction titles. (Picture book. 4-7)