Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)

Title: My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)
Author: Peter Brown
Illustrator: Peter Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: A young boy named Bobby has the worst teacher. She's loud, she yells, and if you throw paper airplanes, she won't allow you to enjoy recess. She is a monster! Luckily, Bobby can go to his favorite spot in the park on weekends to play. Until one day...he finds his teacher there! Over the course of one day, Bobby learns that monsters are not always what they seem.

Each page is filled with "monstrous" details that will have kids reading the story again and again. Peter Brown takes a universal and timeless theme, and adds his own humorous spin to create another winner of a picture book. 

What I Think: Since I've owned my copy of My Teacher Is a Monster! (No I Am Not.), it has been kid-tested, mother approved and teacher approved. I brought a bag of picture books to Nerdcamp with me for my sessions on mentor texts. As I passed the books out, teachers were excited to read My Teacher is a Monster and while I walked around to talk to people, I noticed a teacher giggling as she read through the book and one teacher pulled out the second snatch of text below.
     When I read it to my kids, I had fun quacking along with Bobby and his teacher, Ms. Kirby. I love when authors design books that make it easy to interact with the text. The page with all the quacking is my favorite. The first time I read it, I was snuggled between Peanut and Little Bean and I reached over and tickled each of them as we quacked along together. It was such a great reading-together moment.
     Peanut could totally identify with Bobby and his love for paper airplanes as he is an avid paper airplane folder and flyer himself. And afterwards, Little Bean immediately asked me to read it again...and then the next night, when it was time to read books before bed, he specifically requested Ms. Kirby again.
      I first read My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) at NCTE last fall. I remember thinking it was a sweet story and one that many readers will identify with. Most people have experiences with school and wonderful and maybe less-than-wonderful teachers. I can think of a few teachers who challenged me to learn and even though I wasn't particularly fond of them at the time, they did encourage my brain and my thinking to grow. Maybe they were my Ms. Kirbys.
     After the first time we read this book, I was chasing Little Bean around, trying to convince him to brush his teeth before bed. When I finally caught him and reiterated how important it is to brush our teeth, he looked at me and said, "You're Ms. Kirby." My mouth gaped open but I wanted to laugh at the same time. We had gone from snuggling on the bed to me using my stern-mom voice and wrangling him in to get his teeth brushed. I might have been a tad cranky exasperated by the time the toothbrush finally reached his mouth. I think all readers will be able to relate to this story and the honesty with which Peter Brown portrays relationships. I was amazed that Little Bean (being only four years old) recognized that I have moments just like Ms. Kirby. And don't we all have those moments?
     As a mentor text, I love how this story encourages readers to look at different perspectives. The more I write, the more I look at people around me and wonder about their stories. Sometimes I jump to one story but then I think about a possible different story for the same person. Using My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) students could imagine back stories for Bobby and for Ms. Kirby and try to understand a little more about why they act as they do in the story. This would be a great activity to brainstorm stories but also to build empathy.
Read Together: Grades K - 4
Read Alone: Grades K - 5 
Read With: Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Henry Allard, The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler,
Snatch of Text:
"Bobby wanted to run!
He wanted to hide!
But he knew that would
only make things worse."

“When they were all quacked out, Bobby had an idea.” 
Writing Prompts: Write about a memorable teacher and describe what stands out to you about him or her.
Topics Covered: Relationships, Compassion, Understanding, Perspective
 I *heart* It:

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