Friday, September 17, 2010

School Daze

It doesn’t matter how great most of your teachers are or how much you like your subjects. Every student knows what a bad day feels like.

In School!: Adventures at the Harvey N. Trouble Elementary School by Kate McMullan, inspired and illustrated by George Booth, the author and artist make high comedy out of that cold hard fact. Certain things annoy us and happen every day exactly the same way, over and over again. Your child’s bus driver may not drive into a ditch every day, but he or she may say the exact same cloying thing every morning, or pull up in the wrong spot every day, or center the door directly above a giant mud puddle.

Certainly we can all remember the substitute teacher saga – everyone wants to get one over on the sub. It’s a free-for-all. Hence McMullan and Booth’s twist about having a non-boring sub carrying a briefcase makes more of an impact. The pun in every character’s name only makes the recognizable ticks and quirks more fun.

I recently got to hear Lizz Winstead speak at the BlogHer conference here in New York City this summer. Winstead is the co-creator and former head writer on The Daily Show, and an audience member asked her what she thought of a story on that asserted The Daily Show had an underrepresented number of women writers. Winstead defended the show’s hiring practices saying, “It’s not a woman thing, it’s a nerd thing,” and that in order to write for The Daily Show you have to be a “media-consumer extraordinaire, historian and satirist.”

School makes me think of that combination. The confluence of the experiences of Kate McMullan as a former fourth-grade classroom teacher and longtime author of children’s books, and of George Booth as a seasoned New Yorker cartoonist and satirist, makes their combined take on life in the halls of a frenetic public school a wildly successful send-up. No matter how your child’s school year is going, he or she will be highly entertained by this ode to school days.

No comments:

Post a Comment