Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Lots of fun all the way around
Cons: The students needed a sub at all
The Bottom Line:
Misbehaving kids
Have to deal with sub Miss Swamp
Lessons to be learned

The Sub No Student Wants to Get

As a kid, you always longed for days where you had a substitute teacher because you knew you could get away with more.  But that's not the case in the picture book Miss Nelson Is Missing!  I remember enjoying this one as a kid, and it's just as much fun now.

The kids in room 207 are a disobedient lot.  It was a shame since their teacher, Miss Nelson, was so nice.  Then one day they got a substitute teacher - Miss Viola Swamp.  She doesn't take their misbehavior, and suddenly the kids begin to miss Miss Nelson.  Where did she go?  Will she ever come back?

Despite a situation that would have been hard for the kids, this book is actually very funny for the reader.  When the kids begin to look for Miss Nelson, their theories about where she might have gone are pretty funny.

The illustrations by James Marshall are an important part of the story.  They really sell how fearsome Miss Swamp is, and they make the theories much more fun.  They are certainly on the cartoony side of things, but they do work well for the story.

And there are some good morals.  There's a lesson on obedience and respecting your elders.  Plus there's a lesson on appreciating what you have.  And yet none of these are preached at you.  They are just a natural part of the story, which is the best kind of moral in my eyes.

While the book isn't advertised as an easy reader, it could be read as such.  The text uses fairly simple sentences and words.  Young readers might need some help with a few words, but they should be able to figure most of it out themselves.  And that's the age that would appreciate the subject - substitute teachers - the most anyway.

The book originally came out in 1977, but that shouldn't be an issue at all.  The tale is timeless and the illustrations are cartoony enough they don't really date things either.

Oh, and wondering just what happened to Miss Nelson?  There's a great reveal to that at the end that everyone will get.

So definitely get this book for the young kid in your life.  Miss Nelson Is Missing! is still a fun read.


  1. Mark I am so sorry it has taken me so long to visit your blog. I am discovering I am having some problems with the linky but no excuse.
    Great review and I have not encountered this title before so thanks for that.
    I just went and checked out on amazon and wow it is popular a lot of 5 star reviews.
    Happy reading!

    1. Don't worry about the time it took to stop by.

      This was pretty popular when I was in elementary school (and it was new). It is pretty fun all the way around.