Back To School: I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann
MRS. BENSON GIVES STARS FOR STUFF LIKE SPELLING OR NEATNESS OR RAISING YOUR HAND AND SAYING THE RIGHT ANSWER.
NOT FOR DOODLING AND DAYDREAMING.
Mrs. Benson is clearly a stickler. She wears pointy shoes and pointy glasses through which she seems to look down her long nose at Rosie, a doodling, dreaming, and drawing-in-the-margins kind of girl.
Rosie knows she's not the star-by-her-name type, but she still longs to please her teacher. One day during math she's sure she knows the right answer. She raises her hand and goes to the board to do the problem.
3 + 2 =5
But Rose hadn't started listening soon enough. Mrs. Benson writes the problem she wanted on the board.
3 + 0 - 2 = 1
No star for Rosie for math.
She tries again in reading. She goes politely to the front of the class and starts to read the story aloud.
But not aLOUD enough! No reading star for Rosie.
Rose is disappointed. But then the class is visited by an artist named Mr. Sullivan. Rosie pays perfect attention as he tells them all about how he created his artwork.
I WAS STILL THINKING ABOUT IT WHEN I SERVED THE SNACKS...
The snacks and juice cups wind up on Mrs. Benson's desk and lap. No star for Rose for being a good classroom helper, either.
To make things even worse, Mrs. Benson decides that today is the day to inspect everyone's desks.
She looks inside Alan's desk and pulls out a forgotten bologna sandwich. EWWW! Jodi's desk is even worse, with a wad of used tissues. ICKKK!
Rosie knows hers is worse! But then, she gets lucky!
THEN THE BELL RANG. "CLOSE CALL, HUH, ROSIE?" SAID MRS. BENSON. "I'LL LOOK AT YOURS TOMORROW."
Rosie is there early to clean her desk until it is spotless and neat, inside and out.
But then, Mrs. Benson gives each of them a great assignment--to design a personal thank-you card for Mr. Sullivan. Rose is inspired. She sketches, paints, cuts, collages, glues, and make a very special card. But she and her tidy desk are both a mess again. But Mrs. Benson smiles.
ROSE, YOU ARE A TRUE ARTIST -- LIKE MR. SULLIVAN!
And Rose gets to give herself--AND Mrs. Benson--special hand-drawn exploding stars, in Jennifer K. Mann's I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard. And for her delightful artwork and well-paced storytelling, Publishers Weekly give author Mann a star, too--a starred review, adding "Mann, in her second book as both author and illustrator, works with assurance as she puts her jittery ink line and layered washes of color to work in the service of both emotional vulnerability and schoolroom slapstick without missing a beat."