Reviews for Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring
When Zack's teacher, Miss Smith, reads from her magic storybook, the characters come to life. Left unsupervised, the kids read snippets from several tales at once, and the classroom is overrun with pirates and other fairy-tale fixtures. For a story ostensibly about the joys of reading, the slick, synthetic-looking images are awfully mirthless, and Zack doesn't prove to be an engaging main character. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2003 June #1
Zack's new second-grade teacher confounds his expectations, not so much with her black leather jacket and flaming red brush-cut, as with the big, ornately tooled book she carries-which, when opened, disgorges real pirates, pigs, knights, dragons, and the like as she reads. When Miss Smith is late one day, the Principal, and then the children, get hold of her book, and because they can't manage to finish the stories they start, utter chaos ensues until she sweeps in to restore order. Using saturated hues and crisply drawn figures, Garland crowds the classroom with lively characters, many of them recognizable from classic stories and folktales. A brief but animated invitation to the pleasures of reading, as well as a tribute to unconventional teachers everywhere. (Picture book. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 June #2
With her spiky red-orange hair, leather jacket and "The Clash" pin, "Miss Smith seemed very... different from Zack's other teachers. But the day went along like every school day Zack could remember-until Miss Smith said, `It's story time.' " The teacher opens a leather-bound volume with a filigree cover, and the pages begin to glow. As Miss Smith reads, fantasy characters appear and the classroom transforms into a pirate ship or a fairy-tale forest until the story is complete. One day, Miss Smith is late and the school principal picks up the magic tome. When a dragon emerges, he flees, and the giddy children pass the book around. Before long, familiar characters like the Three Bears, Headless Horseman, Cowardly Lion and Mad Hatter are on the loose, and Miss Smith has to get them under control. Garland (The Mouse Before Christmas) styles petite Miss Smith as a punk-rock throwback, but he doesn't draw any connection between her distinctive looks and the storybook's powers. Miss Smith seems like a wayward character from some other tale, and child character Zack barely registers on the plot. Likewise, visual icons like Alice and Bo Peep may be present, but without their attendant narratives, they lack substance. The author acknowledges classic children's literature without igniting enthusiasm for it. Ages 5-11. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 October
Gr 1-4-Zack's exciting new teacher has a magic storybook. When she opens it up and reads aloud, the characters pop out and bring the tales to life right before the students' eyes. But Miss Smith's book isn't for everybody, and when stuffy Principal Rittenrotten has to fill in for her one morning, the dragon, princess, and knight that materialize from the pages send him from the room in a panic. The only way to make them disappear is to finish their respective stories, but Zack's classmates keep beginning new ones instead, until the school is overrun with Goldilocks, the Mad Hatter, and other such characters, seen vividly cavorting across the full-page spreads. Fortunately, Miss Smith shows up just in time and returns them to the safety of the book's pages, leaving the principal confused and her students forever in her debt. The lively, bright illustrations have a glossy, computer-generated quality that young readers will appreciate. Miss Smith wears a black leather jacket and a lapel button advertising "The Clash," and has a punk-rock hairdo. A satisfactory addition to most collections.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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