Mrs. Hartwell, of first-day, last-day and standardized-test fame, is back, this time trying to survive a class field trip.
It’s taken some time for the teacher to get over the last class field trip, but with some preparation, this time she thinks she is ready. And over the course of the day at the zoo, she carefully follows her handwritten list of field-trip tips, but her “handy-dandy, just-in-case-something-unexpected-happens bag” still gets some use. From a bus-related delay and a few minor scrapes to a serious need for some paper towels and a change of clothes, pith-helmet–clad Mrs. Hartwell is prepared for any eventuality, including the need to change her own carefully made plans. Teachers will certainly see the humor and gentle lessons in Danneberg’s latest school story. The questions is, will kids be as engaged? The kids’ mishaps are just as tongue-in-cheek as ever, but behind them is the fact that Mrs. Hartwell’s writing assignment is keeping them from seeing some of the cool things the zoo animals are doing—maybe it’s revealing too many tips of the trade? Love’s illustrations are fun to peruse, and she masterfully portrays her characters’ every emotion. But while Eddie’s personality comes through loud and clear, the other students are rather generic, not like the class found in Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ Twelve Days series.
Not as strong as Mrs. Hartwell’s previous outings. (Picture book. 5-8)