A Smart, Smart School

HarperCollins. Jun. 2023. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063059610.
K-Gr 3–Principal Keene loves his school, and it fills him with joy to see the creativity and color that fill the classrooms as the teachers and students enjoy activities such as painting and reading. When Mr. Keene is rushed to the hospital with appendicitis, everyone is worried, especially Tilly, who loves helping Mr. Keene whenever she can. When Mr. Tatters arrives to take over, he does not like what he finds. What this school needs, Mr. Tatters decides, are tests! Soon every day is full of tests, so much that Tilly doesn’t even have time to play after school anymore. Text and illustrations convey the tiresome repetition of the same activity day after day, with the draining of energy palpable on the pages. When they finally have a chance to visit Mr. Keene in the hospital, the students and teachers take the time to share how much they care for him. And once he returns to school, it doesn’t take long for the color and joy to return with him. The beautiful digital illustrations are reminiscent of classics such as Sarah Stewart's The Library, and both text and illustrations share a love of creativity and an appreciation for educators.
VERDICT This lovely picture book companion to A Fine, Fine School welcomes readers to an incredible elementary school that appreciates creativity and those who make an impact on students’ lives.

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