Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Review: Karen's New Teacher

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Karen’s New Teacher

Author: Ann M. Martin

Date: 1991

Publisher: Apple / Scholastic

ISBN: 0-590-4824-2

Length: 103 pages

Illustrations: black and white drawings by Susan Tang

Quote: “Karen Brewer. Will you please remember to raise your hand? What gets into you? Where are your best manners? Now be quiet!”

Karen likes her regular teacher, Ms. Colman, who is more indulgent than that. Naturally, she doesn’t like the substitute teacher, Mrs. Hoffman, at all.

In the real world lots of kids dislike their teachers. Sometimes it’s mutual. In the real world, if anybody notices or cares that children dislike their second grade teachers, the most helpful thing they’re likely to say is that one of the most useful things to learn at school is how to work around people you don’t like. In the real world, when adults notice that a kid didn’t learn anything in grade two, what they do is scold the child for not having figured out already what s/he is supposed to know in grade three or four.

In the very, very nice world of the Baby-Sitters Club books, however, everybody is supposed to like everybody—except for official school enemies, who are, in the Stoneybrook school system as in mine, so obligatory that they can be considered a kind of school friends. So when the students play pranks on Mrs. Hoffman, two improbable results occur: Mrs. Hoffman realizes that she’s made herself unpopular, and the whole second grade, to a child, realize that they’ve never positively disliked Mrs. Hoffman so much as they’ve missed dear Ms. Colman, who’s coming back on schedule anyway! Hurray! It’s BSC-world, so we know everyone is going to live nicely ever after.

All the BSC books are still fairly easy to find, so, once again, this is a Fair Trade Book: $5 per book + $5 per package, to either address at the bottom of the screen, and you could probably get ten of these slim "Little Sister" paperbacks into one package for a total of $55, from which Martin or a charity of her choice gets $1 per book.