Elspeth Lorraine

Book Reviews

August 11, 2023

"Mr. S" By Monica Arnaldo

Reader, I do not make this point lightly, but this was one of the BEST books I have read all year. It is perhaps the perfect mix of re-readability for both kids and their grown ups. The illustrations pop for storytime in a group, and the up close detail is also perfect for lap reading. All hail Monica and her hilarious premise and storytelling!

A man is in the midst of writing “Mr. S'' on the blackboard (retro!) when we see a calamity unfold out of the window. He races out of the room leaving a sandwich and hot coffee on the desk. The classroom fills and the children begin to wonder where their teacher is. Half the class cheers, “No teacher means no rules!” (totally me) and the rest scold “Absolutely not!” (all my close friends). With a loud THWACK!!! a ruler falls to the floor and the children's eyes fall on the sandwich. Is… the teacher a sandwich? Class begins with all manner of (sandwich) learning and if you are paying close attention, (or a grown up who has read this book over and over) you can also watch the man from the first page battle a car fire, a pizza delivery, and many other catastrophes. Also there is a raccoon. Picture books just have to have a raccoon. Or any other animal. IMO. With a twist ending I did not see coming and perfect word play, this book is one I would gladly reread to any kid who asked me. 

Bits and Pieces: If I could just put a gif of me laughing over this book I would. I should! But in the meantime let me just tell you to buy it. 

Not Sure About: The kids eyes creeped me out. I hate to admit it, but huge irises and sometimes really small hands give me the shivers. There weren’t any small hands in this book, I’m just giving you a look into my soul. 

Favorite Part: The plot twist! The extra mystery at the end! The two stories in one! The fact that Monica added in a lil’ special something for those of us that follow kidlit people, agents, librarians etc…! The straw in the cold coffee! The rainy weather! I can’t choose. And when faced with such a perfect book, I won’t.

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