Paperback, 112 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by HarperCollins
Format read: Finished copy via Publisher - thanks!
Younger readers are encouraged to develop their love of reading by reading to a fluffy and unusual friend, while also learning that adults aren't as unusual as they might seem.
In the 11th book of the Weirder School series, Ella Mentry School students are struggling with reading comprehension. So one of the teacher decides to try an innovative idea: bringing a therapy dog into the classroom, and having the kids read to the dog!
While the program is successful, nothing is ever simple when your school is a weird school. The usual fun, wacky hijinks occur, including a shy, reluctant reader and misunderstandings as to what actually goes on in the teacher's lounge…
Gutman continues his trend of writing charming, educational tales with this story. Educators and parents will likely appreciate the fact that Gutman emphasizes the benefits of coming up with innovative solutions to tough problems - reading therapy with a friendly dog! -but also shows that it's okay if those solutions aren't universal for everyone.
Even though most of the kids love Miss Klute, there is one notable student who finds that it's still difficult to read when there's an adult in the room. But the kids don't tease her or judge her; they respect her for trying to overcome her shyness, an important lesson for readers both young and old.
Outside of reading challenges, Gutman also does a great job of sharing the idea that tall tales don't always equal reality. The kids start the book with the belief that the teacher's lounge is a paradise for them to escape to, but quickly learn that not everything is what it seems - and that's okay! Teachers are still awesome, nonetheless.