Hopefully, the teachers among us have been able to enjoy their summers a little bit. I've spent many summers immersed in professional development and classroom preparation, but this summer is beyond my normal prep. Despite my elementary education degree, Texas teaching certifications, and years of experience, I must earn renewal rights for my Kentucky teaching certificate by receiving a Masters degree.
Since you follow me, you know that I research mentor texts. One of the ways that I stay connected to the research behind children's books is to review them. I love a good tale that allows my imagination to take its fictional ride.
The Teacher's Pet appears to be like all the other students' tadpoles in the class. But if you look closely at Zachariah OHora's illustrations, you'll see that Mr. Stricter's pet is slightly different than the rest. Then, hold onto your hat because... Mr. Stricter's pet is not a tadpole at all. In fact, it's rather large and gray and he eats a lot, too. (Sometimes he eats unexpected things.) Don't get too close. Consider yourself warned. When a teacher is in love with something, you know it's not easy to give up. And this teacher loves this book. It's fiction at its best; meant to entertain. Kids live for this stuff.
And they also like gum. Lots and lots of gum. So when the Gumazing Gum Girl shows up with a villain on her heels...dun, dun, dun! You'd better watch out! Especially if you only have one piece of gum left in your pocket. Gabby Gomez is in a bit of a predicament. With her secret identity as Gum Girl, people are depending on her to keep them safe. But gum has a way of leaving it's mark on a certain evil villain's dashed dreams and also on Gabby's teeth. When your dad's a dentist that might not go so well. Gabby pays attention to her inner voice when it tells her to be honest about her gum-chewing ways. She wants to do the right thing, but will they understand and will it cost her the chance to save her town? As Gabby struggles between her duty and everyday life, she hopes her bubble won't burst. My first graders flipped for this one, and heartily joined in at every "dun, dun, dun!" They couldn't wait to get their hands on a gum-scented version and read it for themselves. Now that it's out in the world, you can get your hands on it, too. Just watch out for the sticky gum.
I think you'll enjoy checking these two out for yourself.
The opinions in this post reflect my honest opinion as both an educator and a writer. Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for providing advanced reader copies of these books!