From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—Miss Bindley takes the class pets home for a long weekend and develops an eerie, extraordinary craving. Following the traditional cumulative rhyme, all of them disappear in a round of Fear Factor
-inspired eating—a flea, spider, fish, rat, Jake the Snake, and, as students cry in horror, "She's got our Lizzie!"—the class lizard. Miss Bindley, in turn, grows less appealing with the turn of each page. Hair becomes flyaway and frizzy, her cozy robe falls into a frumpy sack, and her face turns-well, a bilious green. Gammell's lively artwork is a colorful combination of watercolor, colored pencils, pastel, and crayon framed by a mix of font sizes and colors. Assisted by conversational responses from Miss Bindley's students, who are spying on her, the tale progresses as tails disappear until the unlikely becomes the outrageous—"I know an old teacher who swallowed a child…." Would she really try that? The horrifying notion is entertained, but to the relief of readers, is tossed aside in this unusual offering.—Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX
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In this loose variation of the familiar cumulative song, a teacher takes home the class fish, rat, snake, and lizard, then proceeds to swallow them in succession after gulping down a flea (by accident) and a spider (deliberately). In Gammell’s typically outlandish illustrations, wildly lined and vividly colored, a crew of horrified young witnesses peers in through Miss Bindley’s window. They watch as the teacher, looking increasingly disheveled and nauseated beneath her wild mane of red hair, stuffs each creature into her mouth. With nothing left to eat, one child notes: “Hey! She’s staring at YOU!” “Staring at ME? (gulp) How can that be?” Happily, before anything fatal happens to eater or eatee, the children carry her off, evidently believing her loud protest that she would never swallow a child. Though the rhythms are too irregular to be easily singable, this rendition features plenty of crowd-pleasing gross bits that will get kids going. Grades K-3. --John Peters