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.

BROTHERS IN ARMS

BLUFORD HIGH SERIES #9

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 beautifully realized daydream; a fun yet thoughtful exploration of the complexities and possibilities hidden beneath...

GREGORY AND THE GRIMBOCKLE

In this debut middle-grade novel, a lonely boy finds friendship and learns about the magic of human connection.

Defined by the large mole on his lip, 10-year-old Gregory has grown distant from his family. He is friendless and withdrawn. Then one night a strange little creature emerges from Gregory’s mole. It is riding a (quite lovable) cockroach and can change size. This is the Grimbockle. The Grimbockle—one of many Bockles, who, like Palmer Cox’s Brownies, live at the peripheries of human awareness—tends to the exoodles that bind people together. Exoodles are long, transparent, noodlelike threads and are usually invisible. Once Gregory has his eyeballs painted with Carrot Juicy, though, he can see them. He joins the Grimbockle and the roach, traveling the exoodles as if on a high-speed roller coaster. Exoodles wither and die when people don’t look after their relationships. The Grimbockle is trying to repair a particularly sickly exoodle that links a boy to his mother. Can Gregory help—and can he mend the exoodles in his own life? Schubert follows delightedly in the footsteps of Roald Dahl, opening her unfortunate young protagonist’s eyes to a previously unseen world both weird and wondrous (yet for all its outlandish magic, oddly logical). The scenario is one of riotous imagination, while the Grimbockle himself—brought sweetly to life in black-and-white illustrations by Kraft—is a sprightly and good-natured little person, full of the type of singsong infelicities found in Dahl’s beloved nonhuman characters: “Is you ever seeing glimpses of squiggles in the corners of your twinklers but then they is disappearing in a snippety blink?” “ ‘Exoodles!’ shouted the Grimbockle in triumph. ‘Sometimes, hoo-mans is getting so twisty and wound up in extra exoodles that they is feeling gloomy blue and heavy all day long.’ ” The story is perhaps too much of a parable to fully match Dahl’s template; the adventure is safer and the threats less dark. Nonetheless, readers should fall willingly and with thrilled abandon into the fizzy, fanciful world of Gregory and his Grimbockle friend.

A beautifully realized daydream; a fun yet thoughtful exploration of the complexities and possibilities hidden beneath surface appearances.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9911109-3-3

Page Count: 153

Publisher: New Wrinkle Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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