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The Magical Ms. Plum

New for September 8, 2009:


Knopf Books for Young Readers

Ages: 8-12

Everybody wants to be in Ms. Plum’s class. It’s not just that she teaches the usual things in unusual ways. There’s something more, something about Ms. Plum herself—and her mysterious supply closet. Whenever she asks her students to get her an eraser or a pencil or some paper clips, they come back with something . . . unusual. Who’d have thought a minature alligator, a big-mouth parrot, or a tiny wolf could teach kids a thing or two about life?

Magic and common sense mix to create a wonderful year for Ms Plum, who could be Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s granddaughter, and her third graders. Clever and understated Ms Plum sends one student per chapter into her magical supply closet, which smells of “chalk and chocolate and something lovely no one could ever quite name,” and that student comes out with a miniature version of an animal that behaves in a way that adds to the students’ understanding. For instance, Jovi, a refugee from an unnamed African country, retrieves a fierce falcon the children come to understand needs freedom. With lightness and humor, complemented by Portnoy’s occasional black-and-white illustrations, Becker highlights the personalities of Everyclass: the whiner, the optimist, the showoff, the thief, the shy one. Readers will surely see themselves in the chapters and eagerly read on to see what will happen as the year unfolds. Ms Plum has some real teaching magic up her sleeve, and teachers who read aloud to their classes will want to begin or end their years with this one. (Fantasy. 7-11) - Kirkus Reviews, July 2009


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