Teacher Trade!

In this debut children’s picture book, American and Scottish teachers trade classes and find that the English language isn’t the same everywhere—and hilarious misunderstandings ensue.

Author Warmouth, a Seattle teacher who switched classrooms with a teacher in Edinburgh, Scotland, under a Fulbright exchange program, here presents two rhyming books in one. First, she tells the story of an American teacher, Miss Cue, who runs into unexpected problems when she takes over Miss Queue’s class in Scotland: “Let’s start out with spelling—so easy you’ll pass! / Please take out your notebooks and erasers dear class.” The students are mystified until one suggests that she means them to take out their “jotters and rubbers,” and Miss Cue is soon alarmed when they apparently misspell every word on the test; the illustration shows one pupil’s paper with words such as “colour,” “centre,” “practise” and “grey” crossed out and “corrected.” The cartoony art clarifies the situations throughout, and some mix-ups will make children snicker: “May I wash in the toilet?” Thomas asked with a twinkle. / ‘Heavens, no!’ Miss Cue squealed. ‘Toilets are only for tinkle!’ ” Adults, however, may squirm at the bathroom humor and, in spots, at the irregular rhythm and forced rhyme. But when the Scottish pupils take over, the rhyme snaps to attention: “The trunk is the boot, while a boot is a welly. / A wallet’s a purse and a TV’s a telly. / Now really, Miss Cue! Enough of this blether! / It’s time you learn Scottish. We’ll do it together!” The story then switches to Miss Queue’s class in Seattle—and the page numbers start over from 1. The reader, now armed with definitions from the first “book” (including the fact that diapers are called “nappies” in Scotland), can understand Miss Queue’s dilemmas. “John let loose a yawn and asked for a nappy. / The thought of him skipping the loo made Miss Queue quite unhappy! / Politely she said, ‘This school hasn’t a shower. / Please go to the toilet before messing your trousers.’ ” Again, her students come to the rescue: “Please just say bathroom—not toilet or loo.” Younger elementary school students will enjoy this book’s mostly clever wordplay while broadening their worldview.

Pub Date: June 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479210459

Page Count: 66

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.



In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A compelling mix of action, drama and love.

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Gray’s (A Delightful Arrangement, 2011, etc.) young-adult novel offers a unique twist on a classic.

Lizzie Egmont has her entire life planned out. A junior at the Jane Austen Academy, she plans to become managing editor of the school’s paper, graduate at the top of her class and receive an acceptance letter from Georgetown University—until her school goes coed, that is. When the first male student steps on campus, Lizzie’s dream scuttles off trajectory. Her classmates succumb to boisterous flirtations with the opposite sex, but Lizzie sees trouble. The academy has been sold and the owner’s identity carefully concealed by the new trustees and headmistress. When Lizzie overhears a conversation about plans to change the name of the school, she leaps into action. In the process, she discovers that the truth may cost her friendships and love. As expected from a “modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice,” the book retains the essence of its original cast: Lizzie is bold and beautiful beyond her own good; her love interest, Dante, is stunningly attractive and irresistibly brooding. Fans of Bingley, Jane and Wickham will not be disappointed since the author has taken great care to not only preserve their essences, but also relay them as believable, lovable and flawed teenagers. Dialogue is contemporary, hilarious and honest to Austen’s original characters—just reincarnated in 21st century California. Action and exposition fiercely move readers through a landscape of wealth and ambition, where literature comes to life as readers face contemporary YA issues of conformity, loyalty and identity. Despite its brevity, the novel presents a world just as resonating as those created in some novels triple the size.

A compelling mix of action, drama and love.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2012


Page Count: 105

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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