Mr. Wolf is starting his first year of teaching fourth grade. He sets up his classroom and waits for his students to arrive. He is pleased with their behavior on the rug, but struggles a bit when he ventures out to the office. Another teacher steals his stapler, and he runs a bit late when he's having a doughnut in the teachers' lounge. After he picks up his class from the library, they go back to their room, but one student, Penny, is missing! Mr. Wolf sends a student to the bathroom to check, and lets the principal know, but even when lunch starts, Penny is not back. She does show up at the end of recess, which Mr. Wolf extends, and the class ends the day with show and tell. On the bus home, Margot, who just moved to town, befriends Sampson, and they bond over a shared love of seashells. There is a second book in the works, entitled Mystery Club.
Strengths: Interestingly, this struck me as a sort of B is for Betsy in graphic novel form! You have the variety of students (who are all different animals, ala Marc Brown's Arthur), supportive adults, and very pedestrian activities that are nonetheless pleasantly interesting. This will be an enormous hit in elementary schools everywhere, and my 6th graders will pick the book up as well.
Weaknesses: I didn't believe that Penny was missing for so long, but it makes for a good story. What I really think: Adding this to my PermaBound list of graphic and notebook novels to purchase in sturdier bindings.
160 pages 978-1338047691 Ages 7-11
Recommended by: Karen Yingling, Library Media Specialist, Ohio USA
See more of her recommendations: msyinglingreads.blogspot.com
Mr. Wolf has just started teaching at Hazelwood Elementary. He wants the first day of school to go well, but he's got his hands full with his new class. Some of his students include: Margot, who is new in town and is trying to make friends. Sampson, who brought something special to school for show-and-tell. Aziza, who just wants everyone to be quiet and do their work. And Penny, who is VERY sleepy because she has a new baby brother at home, goes missing! This delightful new series captures the everyday -- and unexpected -- ups and downs of a fourth-grade classroom.--from the publisher
A first day of school book from the teacher's point of view starts off with one student who can barely hold it on the bus, sharing on the carpet in Mr. Wolf's class, and ends up with a student who crawls into a box in the library and falls asleep unnoticed and eventually is discovered to be missing. Friendships, math assessments, and farts keep the school day rolling along.
This is a very simple and down-to-earth book about a wolf and his class full of diverse animal students. The bullying, the boasting, the class cut-up will all be comfortably familiar. The lost student provides the action but the real story lies in how the students mix with each other and discover the happy wonder of a good friend.
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com