A behaviorally challenged little boy for whom paper airplanes are a particular weakness learns to see his teacher as a person when he meets her outside the classroom.
Bobby’s teacher stomps, roars and takes away recess (not without reason). The little boy’s one refuge is the park—but so is Ms. Kirby’s. In a marvelously illustrated, wordless spread, Brown shows how both Ms. Kirby and Bobby feel when their private moments are interrupted by the other. But in a show of maturity, Bobby understands that running away (no matter how much he may want to) will only make things worse. Some painful small talk and a hat rescued from the wind slowly lead the two to deeper interaction. And when Bobby takes her to his favorite high overlook, Ms. Kirby, who has slowly been losing her green skin, spiky teeth, hippolike nostrils and hulking bulk, silently hands him a piece of paper. The flight is epic. Afterward, Ms. Kirby still roars and stomps and frowns upon paper airplanes in class, though she retains her human features (if not her skin color, at least not all the time). The digitally composited and colored India ink, watercolor, gouache and pencil illustrations use a palette of green, shades of tan and brown, aqua and salmon that suits the text’s tongue-in-cheek humor and monster theme, the colors brightening as Ms. Kirby loses her monster-ness.
Here’s hoping readers who are similarly challenged in the behavior department will get both messages: Teachers are people, and they give back what they get. (Picture book. 4-8)