A group of schoolchildren are apprehensive about spending a school day with a substitute teacher, but they manage to get through with help from one another.
The narrator, a cat, arrives at school only to find that beloved Miss Seabrooke is gone for the day. But Miss Seabrooke left a comforting note on the whiteboard for the class, and it encourages the cat to seek help from her friends, to be kind to her classmates, and to give the substitute a chance. In general, Battuz’s hand-drawn and digitally collaged illustrations are sweet. Miss Seabrooke is perfectly rendered as a capable hen caretaker. However, some illustrations may strike readers as odd. On multiple pages, readers see the substitute, a giraffe, only from the waist down even though he’s often depicted in full on several other pages. Though it seems to be an attempt to show him from the students’ perspective, it feels abrupt, especially with abundant white space or little background on those pages. The rhyming quatrains flow nicely in general, but the narrator’s tendency to capitalize some is distracting. Some appear to be for emphasis, while others are not so easy to understand. Though school goes well for the cat, the book ends realistically, with an expression of anxiety about who might be teaching the next day.
This book nicely helps young readers process a common concern even though the illustrations and text contain a few awkward quirks. (Picture book. 4-6)