Carey Armstrong-Ellis’s hilarious illustrations are the reason my son and I returned to these books again and again. The same eight students are pictured throughout the series (how’s that for a student-teacher ratio?), and each student displays his or her unique personality in an entirely age-appropriate way. Your child will enjoy predicting what new trouble the two roughhousing boys will create, what elaborate outfit the fancy girl will wear, how the horse-loving girl will express her passion, and whether the shy girl will come out from behind the teacher’s back or the nose-picking boy will ever get his finger unstuck. Observant readers can even guess the narrator’s identity. Armstrong-Ellis clearly knows her way around a kindergarten classroom. Her illustrations incorporate charmingly familiar details like an alphabet chart and various supplies stored in cubbies or shelved behind handmade curtains. The classroom gradually descends into chaos as each book progresses. The supplies come off the shelves, hamsters Chuck and Joe become Chuck and Josephine and breed offspring that escape from their cage, and a deceptively quiet student invites outdoor animals into the classroom. You get the sense that the teacher, who looks to be a seasoned pro with a youthful spirit (check out those earrings), finds this group of students more challenging than most.
I highly recommend these books for your preschool or kindergarten child. Older kids might enjoy reading them aloud to younger siblings or just reminiscing about the good old days of kindergarten.