I’m writing this article in the 4th month of my family’s quarantine lockdown during the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s July 2020 and so many things about our daily lives have changed or been erased completely. Tasks that we used to take for granted, are suddenly unavailable to us and we have no idea when we’ll ever have the chance to do them again.
There are days that the uncertainty feels unbearable but I think it’s important to remember that there are wonderful people who have embraced change in order to give everyday people some semblance of normalcy in their lives. One such place is the public library, where many branches have begun to offer curbside service. My local branch has a drive through window where you can pick up books that you’ve reserved online or over the phone.
But the branches of my city’s public library system have taken their outreach a step further by offering to put together book packs for patrons. In my case, I complete a short form that specifies which of several different packs I’m interested in, such as board books, picture books, YA, chapter books, personal development, sci fi, you name it! You have the option to make specific title, author or subject requests or you can leave the choices entirely up the discretion of the library worker. This is what I chose to do on this particular visit and how my son and I ended up reading and enjoying a book he didn’t think he’d like.
Miss Daisy is Crazy! by Dan Gutman, is part of the My Weird School series. Books in this series run about 90 pages, with approximately 11 chapters each. The books could certainly be read by independent readers though in our case, I read it as a bedtime story in about 45 minutes. At first, my son wasn’t keen on the book maybe because the cover design didn’t grab him. I reminded him that we would be starting a new book that he’s been looking forward to the next night (waiting for a library hold) and in the meantime, this was the only new book we had that was short enough to squeeze into the time we had available.
This seemed to do the trick and we were off! But I immediately had concerns when I opened the book to the first chapter. It was titled, ‘I Hate School’. I don’t know about you, but my son isn’t a child who naturally loves school. Well, let me rephrase that; he actually seems to have enjoyed school most days upon pick up but getting there can be a challenge about half of every week. So let’s just say that I don’t necessarily need a book to start with a phrase I already hear too much!
With that said, my son and I both learned a lesson about judging this book because the chapter title drew him in right away. He loved that Miss Daisy agreed that she hated school, too. She can’t read! She doesn’t understand arithmetic! Understandably, her students are baffled as to how she could have possibly become their teacher with such an unexpected approach to learning.
Of course, parents will recognize that Miss Daisy certainly doesn’t hate school and that she’s not woefully underqualified for her role in molding young minds. Nope, she’s simply feigning ignorance and employing the use of reverse psychology. In the process, she’s able to engage the children in lively discussions about various school subjects. She even agrees to help her students approach Principal Klutz about their wild idea of buying the school and turning it into a gaming arcade. The deal that follows is pure genius on the side of the principal, I must say.
It’s safe to say that I’ve already placed library holds on several books in the My Weird School series. When we find something that works in the world of children’s literature, we tend to ride that train as long as possible! I would suggest that you give the series a try because if it resonates with your son, you will have an absolute bounty of books to keep yourself busy during these unprecedented times of quarantine. Stay safe, readers!