Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Review - I'm Afraid Your Teddy Is in the Principal's Office

I'm Afraid Your Teddy Is in the Principal's Office
by Jancee Dunn
illustrated by Scott Nash
Date: 2020
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

What do your favorite toys get up to when you’re at school? Teddy and friends bring their creative mayhem to the classroom in a gleefully vicarious comic romp.

What would happen if your teddy bear stowed away in your backpack and followed you to school? And what if your teddy convinced all your friends’ stuffed animals to come along for the party? Would you believe they might sneak into the cafeteria to play Pizza Disc, head to the band room to put bubbles in the wind instruments, make a clever glue trap for the art teacher, and roll around in finger paint as well? Luckily, the principal remembers what it was like to be young and may let the rambunctious teddy bear and crew off just this once. Author Jancee Dunn and illustrator Scott Nash bring Teddy and friends back for more mischief in a high-spirited tale of uninhibited fun.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

The title of this one got my expectations up a little too high. It's definitely a high-spirited story, but the overall plot is a little too sparse for my taste.

The story is narrated by a principal in the second-person point of view, and they're talking to a young child whose teddy has recruited all of his stuffed animal friends to wreak havoc on the school. They make a mess of the cafeteria, harass the gym teacher, pour bubble solution into all the musical instruments, and roll around in finger paint. When the stuffed animals are finally caught, they're sent to the principal's office... where all is instantly forgiven.

The problem I'm having here is that the book focusses on the mayhem, not the consequences. When the title puts the teddy in the principal's office, there's already an expectation there that the stuffed animals are going to be punished. But they get off with a hug. I mean... that's sweet, but it's both anticlimactic and not very satisfying.

The pictures are okay. They illustrate the hijinks of the stuffies in a way that's moderately appealing. The text is fairly strong, too, even if the second-person point of view is a little unusual.

Overall, I think young children might like this one, but I don't know if older readers will be satisfied by the weak conclusion to the story that's been built up.

Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.67 out of 5

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