The Noisy Classroom

West Margin Pr. May 2020. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781513262925.
PreS-Gr 2–A student is wary of the third grade, specifically the noisy class, in her school. The narrator describes the music, the loudness, and the disorder she has witnessed in Ms. Johnson’s classroom, so different from her own, where “we walk in two silent lines.” When she learns she will be in the noisy classroom next year, she informs her parents she will be moving to Antarctica instead. Not even a family meal of jerk chicken and empanadas can sway her. When the new school year arrives, the girl finds some appeal in Ms. Johnson’s nontraditional way of teaching. “Every lesson seems like a game. I have to admit, it is really fun.” As the story comes to a close, she decides that “my noisy class is way better than Antarctica.” Cartoon-style illustrations depict a diverse group of classmates, and show their humorous facial expressions. Unfortunately, any white space provided by the illustrations is filled with text in a font size that seems to crowd the pages. Text and page turns are awkward in places, such as when the girl is describing Ms. Johnson in the present on one page, and the facing page changes focus to next year.
VERDICT An additional purchase. While the nontraditional teaching and learning style of Ms. Johnson’s classroom is appealing and ultimately embraced by the narrator, the book’s layout and design detract from its potential.

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