Saturday, August 05, 2017

Back to School: Pete the Cat And The Surprise Teacher by James Dean

Pete is ready for school.

"Where's Mom?" Pete asks.

"She has a surprise for you," said Pete's Dad.

And Dad is right. When Pete walks into his room at school, there's his Mom standing in front of the class.

"I'm your substitute teacher!" she says.

As a last-minute sub, Mrs. Cat needs some help from Pete and his class. She asks them what they are supposed to be doing first. Pete volunteers that Art comes first, and they all agree, so Pete's mom follows their directions down the long hall.

The line winds up in front to two big doors, with a sign that says GYM. But the gym teacher is cool with that change in the schedule.

"Stay and play!" says the gym teacher.

After a basketball game, Pete's Mom tries to get the class back on track. But the line stops at a door that says MUSIC. The music teacher smiles and invites them to stay and sing!

By the time all the songs are sung, Pete's classmates are hungry and it's time to fill their tummies. They lead Pete's Mom to the lunchroom.

It's all good, as Pete would say, but will his class get to Art before it's time to get on the bus?

The whole day is a surprise, especially for their substitute teacher, in James Dean's Pete the Cat and the Surprise Teacher (My First I Can Read) (Harper, 2017), in which Mrs. Cat at least gets to know the school. This inexpensive paperback book is perfect as a take-off point for a welcoming schoolwide tour to introduce new students, and as a My First I-Can-Read book, this one is just right for emergent readers to learn to read the school signs as well. For kids just venturing into independent reading, this is a welcome title in Harper's I-Can-Read library, now celebrating 60 years of launching new readers.

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