Miss Darling of room 22 is a very special teacher indeed. When asked by her students if they could have "a truly awesome classroom pet," Miss Darling replied, "Yes! Or better yet,/Let's choose a whole pet alphabet." So, from Amanda Anaconda to the zorilla, an unexpected pet (the class thought a zorilla would be a kind of gorilla--"a warmhearted ape with plenty of spunk./Surprise! A zorilla is only a skunk."), room 22 becomes a veritable menagerie of some rather unusual critters. Take the electric eel, for example.
Please don't ask to feel
Our electric eel,
Because, if you bug him,
We cannot unplug him.
Or the octopus, a geometry expert that tries to fold itself into a hexaflexagon. Then there's the surfing newt, the kissing yak ("Yuck!"), and the turkey that, in Thanksgiving-shirking disguise, somehow ends up as the assistant principal.
Judy Sierra, award-winning author of such superb picture books as Counting Crocodiles and Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems strikes gold again with this playful collection of animal alphabet verses. Her text is charmingly accompanied by Barney Saltzberg's (creator of such marvels as Mrs. Morgan's Lawn) comfy, cartoonish full-spread pictures, many of which include hints of upcoming animals. Warning: students everywhere will soon be begging their teachers for pet fleas, vultures, and jaguarundi. (Ages 6 to 10) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-Classroom pets? Room 22 has an abundance of them-one for every letter of the alphabet, from cat to quahog, from anaconda to katydid. Each 4-to-12 line poem portrays some of the common behaviors and personality characteristics inherent to each creature. There's a lunch-stealing lemur, a bad-smelling warthog, and a parrot that gets sent to the principal's office. Saltzberg's colored-pencil and watercolor cartoons meld well with the humorous tone of the text. Each one-to-two page spread is filled with energy, showing the featured animal and the multiethnic students that populate Miss Darling's classroom. Most of the poems are in rhymed couplets, but a few tamper with the meter. Occasional word choices, e.g., "moose"/"boots," "muscle"/"octopuzzle" are a bit of a stretch. Overall, though, this engaging collection is sure to entice listeners to create a zoo (real or imagined) of their own and perhaps to compose original poems as well. A good choice for animal units, plus useful for early readers still working on their alphabet skills.Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
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