Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3

illus. by Grace Zong. 32p. Peachtree. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781561459445.
K-Gr 3—A picture book about a teacher who announces that she is leaving the school at the end of the year. It's not clear whether she is retiring or transferring; the students know only that they are heartbroken. They think of all the things Mrs. McBee will miss when she leaves. She won't get to see her students, hear them read, or watch them grow. Their reaction is completely spot-on. There's no real thought about Mrs. McBee; all they can think about is how her absence will affect them. To take the kids' minds off her leaving, Mrs. McBee enlists their aid in cleaning the room and making sure everything is ready for the next class. Jamaika, a bossy leader if ever there was one, gives everyone a job, but William sits alone and doesn't engage. Jamaika tattles on him repeatedly, but Mrs. McBee replies, "Give him time, honey." When all the jobs are completed, a box is delivered to the class. Out pops William with a fistful of drawings he'd done of all the fun times the class has had together. William has been helping all along. Mrs. McBee clearly is loved by each child in her class, which is evidenced through the text, the soft-hued illustrations, and the happy expressions throughout. The clever cover, with a blackboardlike font, shows a group hug in Room 3, which is echoed satisfyingly at the end of the story.
VERDICT A great read-aloud any day but certainly on Teacher Appreciation Day or the last day of school.

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