Thursday, June 23, 2016

Just a Teacher's Pet by Mercer Mayer -- NO

Mayer, Mercer Just a Teacher's Pet. EARLY READER. HarperCollins, 2015. $16.99. Content: G.

There's a new kid in class. She gives the teacher an apple, willingly sits in the front row, and helps pass out worksheets. The other creatures immediately -- and quite scathingly -- dismiss her as "weird" and a "teacher's pet." But when Bunella turns out to be a talented baseball player, the other kids decide that she might not be so bad after all.

Sure, Bunella's behavior can be a bit bossy, but the loathing the other classmates feel is downright mean and likely to make kids who are helpful feel ashamed. Is that a lesson we want to teach children? That's it's okay to be cool and judgmental, and to look down on nice students? It is also frustrating that Bunella only redeems herself when she turns out to be a good athlete. Her academic skills and kindness earn her the resentment of her peers but, hey, she's a decent baseball player, so maybe she can be forgiven.

EL (K-3) -- NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewer: Caryn

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