Thursday, August 27, 2015

Everyone's a Comedian! My Teacher Is An Idiom by Jamie Gilson


The banner in the lunchroom was new. And red. You couldn't miss it.

A bunch of third graders painted it. They got caught spitting watermelon seeds and cherry pits. The watermelon seeds won.

But manners are far from Richie's mind. He's still at the lunch table, trying to eat without his missing front teeth (thanks to Patrick's gummy candy octopus), when Patrick, who fancies himself a future stand-up comic, sits down. Patrick is usually bad news, and this time he has to show off his latest gag, the Mosquito, sucking Richie's warmish red Jello through a straw and letting it dribble out of his mouth like Dracula. At his urging, Richie reluctantly agrees to give it a try and sucks so hard the Jello goes up his nose, just as the vice-principal, Mr. E., heads over to investigate, and the resulting sneeze spatters all over Mr. E's Sumac School t-shirt.

How does Patrick come up with these goofball schemes? Why does Richie always fall for Patrick's gags? Now they are both in trouble. Mr. E. hauls them to his office, taking the new girl, Sophie from France, along as an eyewitness.

"Sophie," he said. "Tell me, what did these boys do?"

Richie cringes. Now the whole humiliating story of how Patrick got him in trouble once again is going to come out. But Sophie hesitates. And then she decides not to tattle. She shakes her head.

"I am making white cabbage." she said.

Richie and Patrick look confused. But Mr. E. explains that Sophie is using an idiom, which in French means she's drawing a blank on just what happened.

Richie gives Sophie a relieved smile. But Mr. E. still has just the punishment to fit the crime. Richie and Patrick will have to make a speech on good manners to the second- and third-grade assembly on Friday. Richie starts obsessing over the speech, but Patrick sees it as yet another chance to perfect his stand-up comedy routine. And worst of all, his joke-loving father is going to help with the speech. Richie cringes again. This is going to be VERY embarrassing.

And Richie is right. Patrick's dad manages to "crack up" the program, in more ways than one!

Veteran author Jamie Gilson's latest in her Table Two series, My Teacher Is an Idiom (Houghton Mifflin Clarion, 2015) introduces a little wordplay with French and English idioms along with a lesson in lunchroom etiquette for the kids in Mrs. Zookey's second grade, while Paul Meisel's black and white drawings add to the slapstick primary-grade humor. Will Patrick ever learn to put a lid on his pranks? Will Richie ever learn not to get sucked into them? Hopefully, not in this cheery beginning chapter series from a real pro in kid comedy.

Jamie Gilson is also the author of classic comic elementary grade novels such as Thirteen Ways To Sink A Sub by Gilson, Jamie (2014) Paperback and Bug in a Rug Paperback 2003 ]

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