The latest in Sathy’s (Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man: A California CST Adventure, 2009, etc.) series of test prep titles disguises educational tips in a funny middle-grade reader.
Chris Robb’s day is off to an inauspicious start when he accidentally wears his sister’s pink socks to school, and only goes downhill from there. Chris isn’t the best of students and his inability to focus and remember the most basic things—like his teacher’s absurd name, Ms. Bubblebrain—gets him into constant trouble. Between Chris and his colorful cast of classmates, Ms. Bubblebrain can hardly keep order. Scenarios, such as the entire class falling down like a row of dominoes when a panicked Chris runs right into his teacher, are illustrated in a high quality black-and-white cartoon style. The funny, well-illustrated story will likely appeal to struggling readers and is certainly much more entertaining than typical test prep materials. Sample standardized test questions with fill-in circles appear at the end of each chapter to acclimate students to test-taking. Some questions are too easy, but others require students to dig deep. Each question has one overly goofy answer, which might prove a bit too tempting for some students: For the question, “What is the antonym (opposite) of yell?” choice D reads, “I don't know, but this one time, I yelled so loud that my tongue flew out of my mouth and got stuck to the wall in my classroom.” The book is designed to be used either as a read-alone or as a read aloud book by teachers or parents. For this reason, an appendix includes lists of additional activities as well as the core standards, referenced throughout the book by way of superscript notations. The notations might prove distracting to some readers, but are set off in a non-bold font that most readers should be able to ignore. The fill-in style questions, however, make it less than ideal for library use.
This fun book uses elements of humorous novels and cartoons to emphasize core elementary standards in a way that will likely appeal to both teachers and students.