"The Day the Sub Came" is in the vein of the popular "Magic Schoolbus" series of children's books. It presents short adventures and inserts questions about the adventures which can be used as discussion points for the reader. It is a multi-adventure story of a substitute teacher's day told by a substitute teacher. The pictures by Valerie Boris are bright and colorful and complement the text. I knew Carol Gilbert, the author and substitute, when she was a substitute teacher and I felt she could write a book of her school adventures. Now she has done it, and I am glad.
As in "Magic Schoolbus" adventures, the book goes through silly things that students do to trick a sub, but also some things that might be scary. For example, everyone can chuckle that Mrs. Gilbert is called "Mrs. Giblets" and that students would set the clock ahead to get out for recess 5 minutes early; but the class chipmunk being lost and a girl with a bloody nose call for thought, caring, and action by the sub.
The book is a "let's find out by doing" approach, again as in the "Magic Schoolbus" adventures, and encourages discussion with "asides," comments away from the main storyline. One aside is "I hate being benched don't you?" and another asks, "Do you think that punishment sounds fair?"--questions students will surely have comments on. Kids get into trouble and out of trouble and learn things, and the teacher has a satisfying day too.
Some of the day's events include 2 boys switching seats, the class telling the sub they finished their book already, sending notes to each other, dropping a book to make noise, running out the door when the bell rings. You never know what will happen, and it is quite a day, but all gets back to normal at the end of the day, and the class sings Happy Birthday, Mrs. Gilbert (no more Giblets).