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Judy Finchler is an elementary school teacher and librarian from Parsippany, New Jersey. Kevin O'Malley has been amassing high praise and impressive awards for his hilarious, kid-friendly picture books, including numerous starred reviews and two School Library Journal Best Books of the Year. He is also the illustrator and coauthor of the best-selling Miss Malarkey series for Walker & Company. Kevin lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife and two sons.
Gr 2-5-This picture book about the current standardized-testing culture will either touch a funny bone or a nerve. A school community is obsessed with students' preparation and performance on the Instructional Performance Through Understanding test (IPTU). The title gives away the actual joke: it is the teachers whose futures are on the line. As Miss Malarkey prepares her class, she becomes increasingly frazzled as test time approaches. Although she tries to reassure students that "THE TEST" is not important, the atmosphere tells a different story. Children play Multiplication Mambo at recess, eat brain food in the cafeteria, and learn to meditate in gym. While they seem immune to the adult panic, the tension spreads to their parents who abandon bedtime stories for textbook drills and attend a PTA meeting with Dr. Scoreswell, "the Svengali of tests." It is disappointing that the final illustration shows that all the hysteria has had positive results, as the faculty celebrates the school's status as #1 IPTU County Champions. O'Malley's colorful cartoons extend the slapstick, over-the-top humor. Readers will get the joke if they have experienced our society's testing mania. The appreciation by school professionals may depend on their perception of whether the laughs are at the expense of the testing process, society, or the teachers themselves.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"This picture book about the current standardized-testing culture will either touch a funny bone or a nerve. . . . Readers will get the joke if they have experienced our society's testing mania."