"I Am Not!" My Teacher Is a Monster by Peter Brown
BOBBY HAD A PROBLEM IN SCHOOL.
HER NAME WAS MRS. KIRBY.
Mrs. Kirby is a monster. Built like a cross between a dowdy fireplug and a warthog with fangs, Mrs. Kirby stomps around like Godzilla and bellows his name when he innocently sails a paper airplane around the classroom.
"ROBERT!! NO RECESS!"
Through the week Mrs. Kirby's monster face haunts Bobby's dreams. But at last it is Saturday and he heads off for the local park for some much-needed
R and R.
It can't be. But it IS. Mrs. Kirby is there, in his park, sitting on his bench, wearing a large, flowered hat, with no sign of welcome on her fanged face when she spots Bobby. They look long at each other, each wishing the other was somewhere, anywhere else.
Bobby longs to run, but something tells him that is the wrong move. Warily, he sits down on the far edge of the bench and raises his hand.
"BOBBY, YOU DON'T NEED TO RAISE YOUR HAND OUT HERE."
"I WAS GOING TO SAY 'HELLO, MRS. KIRBY.'"
It is a awkward moment as they both sit there wondering what to say next, when a brisk breeze blows Mrs. Kirby's hat away. Muttering something about its being a gift from her granny, Mrs. Kirby gets up to give chase, but Bobby beats her to the hat, and the grateful Mrs. Kirby calls him her hero.
With the ice broken, Bobby and Mrs. Kirby have a quacking contest with a mother duck and her ducklings swimming by, and when they are quite quacked out, Bobby offers to show his teacher his favorite part of the park, a high knoll.
Bobby scampers up the rocks, and Mrs. K. clambers up behind him. They sit atop the hill together.
"THIS IS LOVELY," SAID MRS. KIRBY."
She hands Bobby a fresh sheet of paper from her bag and he makes and flies his best paper airplane ever. And as the two say goodbye, Bobby notices that Mrs. Kirby doesn't look like a monster at all.
That is, until Monday, when Bobby has an uncontrollable urge to fly his best paper airplane across the classroom.
Mark Brown's Arthur had Mr. Ratburn, and Harry Allard's miscreant Room 207 had Miss Viola Swamp. Heck, we've all had that teacher, the one we were sure lived to torture us with pages and pages of arithmetic problems, cancelled recesses, and dirty looks. Now it is Bobby's turn, in Peter Brown's My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) (Little, Brown and Company, 2014). Caldecott-winning artist (for Creepy Carrots!) Peter Brown lays down a deadpan text and lets his illustrations, done in India ink, pencil, and gouache with digital effects, project Bobby's assessment of his teacher, shown with moldy green skin and snaggly fangs at school which morph into a rather pleasant teacherly face at the park, and which only start to flush a bit greenish at the sight of that errant airplane on Monday.
Mark Brown's Arthur had Mr. Ratburn, and Harry Allard's miscreant Room 207 had Miss Viola Swamp. Heck, we've all had that teacher, the one we were sure lived to torture us with pages and pages of arithmetic problems, cancelled recesses, and dirty looks. Kids will laugh--sympathetically--with Bobby, whose hair literally stands on end under the glare of his monster teacher, and perhaps get the hint that misbehaving may be what turns teachers into monsters after all.
Other top-selling books by Peter Brown are Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards (Awards)) and Children Make Terrible Pets (Starring Lucille Beatrice Bear). (See reviews here)