A sweet sentiment and a great way to get kids pumped about school and learning—Miss Frizzle would be proud.

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BECAUSE YOU ARE MY TEACHER

North and Hall pair up for another imaginative what-if offering (Because I Am Your Daddy, 2010, etc.), this time introducing young readers to different modes of transportation.

A tiny (four-student) multicultural class armchair-journeys with their teacher: “If we had a chopper, we would soar above the cone / of a rumbling volcano as it churns out liquid stone.” Camels would allow the students to see the Egyptian pyramids, and an airboat would be the perfect way to see the Everglades. But this class isn’t afraid to use their own muscles—cross-country skiing in Antarctica, hang gliding in the Outback and kayaking the Grand Canyon. Among others, the adventures include hot air ballooning over China’s Great Wall, seeing Venice by gondola and blasting off in a rocket ship into space. North sticks to the format of the two previous titles, missing the rhythm and rhyme in only a few spots. But she neglects the perfect opportunity to plug reading as the way to see the world, instead ending with, “Our classroom is our vessel, / always headed someplace new. // Because you are our teacher, / We’ll see the world with you.” Hall’s watercolors capture the essential elements of each destination, colors, textures and movement matching the natural world, and a comical mouse that appears in each illustration gives readers something to search for.

A sweet sentiment and a great way to get kids pumped about school and learning—Miss Frizzle would be proud. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0385-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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