Friday, September 2, 2011

A Review: Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don't)

This is the first book review for my class on Youth Literature. Hope you all enjoy-- I certainly enjoyed reading this. The lesson this book is tied to had to do with books about reading, and I think this book perfectly sums up what I love about books!:

Review of the Book:
Image from

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t), by Barbara Bottner; Illustrated by Michael Emberley

This book is a story about a little girl who is plagued by an overly-enthusiastic librarian who loves dressing up as different story characters to get the children in her class as interested in books as she is.  The girl is, as the title suggests, not so interested. She just doesn’t get it—none of the books are any good! Then, to the girl’s horror, Miss Brooks tells each kid that they must pick their favorite book, dress up as a character from it, and then tell the class why they liked it. So far, she doesn’t like any of the books that other kids have presented – they are too…everything that she doesn’t like—pink, fuzzy, noisy. When her mom tells her she is “as stubborn as a wart”, the girl realizes that she’d love to read a story with warts in it! So she reads Shrek by William Steig, about a warty ogre looking for an ugly bride. She dresses up and gets excited about presenting it to her class, and Miss Brooks is happy she’s found something she likes to read.
Bottner, B. (2010). Miss Brooks loves books (And I don’t). New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.


I think this is a great way to introduce to kids the concept that reading can be fun, and can be about their interests. Some kids are receptive to reading, and some aren’t, so this is a good way to bring those kids around who are a little hesitant about reading, or who are downright put off by reading. There are so many kids who don’t think they like books, but I agree with Miss Brooks in that I believe that there is a book for every reader out there, no matter the age or stage of life. It’s important to let kids identify their interests and then to choose books based on those interests. 

I thought this book was lots of fun to read. The little girl has a great personality, and Emberley’s illustrations perfectly demonstrate her attitude and Miss Brooks' devotedness to the books. It’s also a lot of fun to see Emberley’s take on other picture book characters. This story is inspiring, but fun. It’s didactic, but kids can enjoy it for the story, and some will definitely identify with the young anti-reader. Win win win!

Professional Reviews:

From Kirkus Reviews:
"Guaranteed to be warmly welcomed by librarians everywhere, this paean to the joys of reading will find an enthusiastic audience among kids and parents as well. The first-grade narrator is clearly an iconoclast—and a curmudgeon. She wears the same scruffy overalls and striped hat (pulled down to her eyes) throughout, turns away from reading circle to pursue her own interests and doesn’t even bother with a Halloween costume. She looks askance at Miss Brooks, the tall, lanky (and, in her opinion, overenthusiastic) librarian who dresses up for storytime and urges her listeners to share their favorites with the group. After the narrator rejects her classmates’ picks, Miss Brooks sends yet another pile home, with similar results. When her remarkably patient mother opines that she is “as stubborn as a wart,” however, a seed is planted. A book with warts (Shrek) is found, loved and shared with great success. Bottner’s deadpan delivery is hilarious, while Emberley’s exaggerated illustrations, executed in watercolor and pencil by way of computer, bring her charmingly quirky characters perfectly to life. In a word: lovable. (Picture book. 5-8)"
[Review of the book Miss Brooks loves books! (And I don’t), by B. Bottner]. (2010, February 15). Kirkus’ Reviews. Retrieved from
From School Library Journal:
"All children need a librarian like Miss Brooks. Her love for reading flows from every fiber of her lanky, quirky self. When not happily immersed in one of the colorful choices from the mountains of books surrounding her, she is dressed as Babar, a Chinese dragon, or a groundhog–her puppet-clad arm popping through a hole on the page. She shares stories with a diverse group of young people, and all are captivated–except for one. This first-grade narrator believes Miss Brooks is a little too enthusiastic–to the point of being "vexing." During Book Week’s student presentations, the overall-clad girl with large, round spectacles and a woolen beanie finds the other kids’ books "too flowery. Too furry. Too clickety. Too yippity." When her mother observes that she is as "stubborn as a wart," interest is aroused, Shrek is discovered in the pile supplied by the librarian, and the transformation begins. An ogre costume and stick-on warts for the whole class complete the conversion to bibliophile. Children will delight in Emberley’s spirited watercolor and ink renderings of literary favorites from The Very Hungry Caterpillar to a Wild Thing. Bottner’s deadpan humor and delicious prose combine with Emberley’s droll caricatures to create a story sure to please those who celebrate books–and one that may give pause to those who don’t (or who work with the latter)."
 Lukehart, W. (2010, February 1). [Review of the book Miss Brooks loves books (And I don't)]. School Library Journal. Retrieved from
Uses: I would use this book as a way to get children who are hesitant readers, or those who claim that they don’t like books at all, interested in books, and interested in identifying their own interests, and then finding books about those interests. It gets kids understanding that there is a book for everyone. I might also use this as a way to get kids interested in dressing up in costume as their favorite library character – perhaps by having a day like Miss Brooks does, and have kids present their own favorite book. This would be a great way to get children involved in the process of choosing what they love to read and making it special to them.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a very cute read. I really enjoyed my children's literature class and wish I had had time to take more in that area.