RESCUING MRS. BIRDLEY
Back to school, where she belongs!
Written by Aaron Reynolds
Illustrated by Emma Reynolds
Simon & Schuster BYR—June 2020
40 Pages Age 4—8
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: Teachers, Humor, Animal Rescues
YOU DO WHEN A
their natural habitat and
is wandering lost in the
Well, if you’re an
animal expert like
you know just how to
(from jacket flap)
“Miranda Montgomery was an animal expert. She watched Nature Joe Animal Show every single day.”
Why I like Rescuing Mrs. Birdley
Miranda Montgomery considers herself an animal expert. She honed her skills daily by watching the Nature Joe Animal Show, where Nature Joe shows viewers how to trap and return animals to their natural habitat. At the grocery store, Miranda spots her teacher, Mrs. Birdley, and knows she is out of her natural habitat: her classroom. She is determined to get Mrs. Birdley back to school, but the clever teacher side-steps Miranda’s traps. Miranda will win out. She “had been preparing for this moment her entire life.”
Once again Aaron Reynolds has written a story children will love, while they laugh at every page.
What child doesn’t think it odd to see their teacher doing normal things away from school? Teachers, to their young students, are people they are only supposed to see at school. What if mom or dad runs into the teacher? Better the teachers stay where they belong. Miranda isn’t worried about any of this, but does think it odd her teacher is out in public. So Miranda does what any good animal expert would do and returns her teacher to her natural habitat, the classroom, where she belongs and where she will be happy.
The illustrations are fantastic and will have kids laughing. (One has Miranda using a jackhammer to dig a hole in the grocery store floor.) Most spreads have a green background, as if in a jungle setting. There are even random big leaves and vines springing out from page borders. Mrs. Birdley’s classroom is more jungle than classroom. Miranda’s traps she bases on the Nature Joe Animal Show are hilarious, especially when triggered. Though a few of Miranda’s traps fail to catch Mrs. Birdley, they do catch the another animal.
The text is wordy on some spreads and not on others. Starting with the Nature Joe Animal Show, the text explains what Nature Joe does and its effect, just like a real animal show. Miranda’s capture story also reads like a show narration, making the text longer in spots. Readers (mom and dad) will enjoy being the show narrator, if they like to create voices for picture books. Read aloud, the cadence is easy and fun. As with many of Aaron Reynolds’s books, the ending isn’t the end and doesn’t arrive with Mrs. Birdley being rescued. He keeps laughs coming through to the very end.
Readers and listeners will like the final trap Miranda based on Nature Joe’s weasel trap. There will be long and loud giggles when Mrs. Birdley heads back to school. Visualizing themselves as an animal expert, children will enjoy thinking up traps to capture and then lock their teacher in their natural habitat. Rescuing Mrs. Birdley will be on children’s “read again” lists. They will talk about this picture book with their friends, and maybe even devise teacher traps together. Teachers generally have good humor and most will like reading Rescuing Mrs. Birdley during story time.
Favorite Sentence /Scene
I like Miranda’s first trap. After she digs a hole in the grocery store floor with a jackhammer, she hides in a box of shrubs to watch her prey with binoculars. “But Mrs. Birdley was sly” and simply strides over the hole. A nanosecond later, the deli man, who was following Mrs. Birdley to return a change purse, drops out of sight. Miranda looks aghast at this unexpected behavior. Her hair is as expressive as her facial features, flying high as she jackhammers and poofing out when the wrong “animal” fails into her trap. This never happened to Nature Joe.
Illustrations Rendered in Procreate and Photoshop.
Available at Amazon: Rescuing Mrs. Birdley
RESCUING MRS. BIRDLEY. Text Copyright © 2020 by Aaron Reynolds. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Emma Reynolds. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, NY.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[487—word count-review only]
[I am an Amazon affiliate. When you purchase through a link on KLR, you are supporting Kid Lit Reviews. For each sale, KLR makes a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. This is an easy way to show your support for this site, without using your own money. For each commission received, I gratefully thank you.]
** Hey Readers! Kid Lit Reviews has a new, easier, no hyphens domain name, beginning January 2021. Don’t want to lose you. Please change your settings for reaching KLR. 2021: kidslitreview.com