Miss Nelson is Missing

Now that we’re in the home stretch, our theme is “Ready for Kindergarten,” and all the books on our shelf are about kindergarten and school.  Z. commented that some of them looked familiar, and I told her that we’d had a bunch of them out at the start of the year.  I was impressed, but not surprised, that she remembered.

Yesterday at storytime I didn’t have enough time to introduce our new “special story” (the repeated interactive read-aloud), so I grabbed Miss Nelson is Missing off the shelf. 

(For those of you who aren’t familiar with the book, Miss Nelson’s class is the worst behaved in school.  They never listen to their poor, sweet teacher.  One day she goes missing, and in her place is the substitute, Miss Viola Swamp.  She has an ugly black dress and is perhaps a real witch.  She is strict and mean and scary, and everyone buckles down.  Finally, when they are exhausted from working so hard, Miss Nelson comes back, and from then on the children all appreciate her, do their work, and behave beautifully.  No one ever knows that there is an ugly black dress in Miss Nelson’s closet….)

I had never read this book to any of my preschool classes, and I wasn’t sure how it would go.  However, with all their practice discussing books this year, they loved it and had a lot to say.  With a little guidance, they even figured out the true identity of Miss Viola Swamp at the end.

When I closed the book, I asked, “Why were the children so happy to see Miss Nelson at the end of the book?”

Z. said, “They missed her.”

I asked, “How do you know they missed her?  Why do you think that?”

Z. replied, “Well, when you are gone, we all miss you.  So I think Miss Nelson’s class missed her the same way.”

Zing!  My heart melted.  It is so nice to be appreciated, especially by four and five year olds.


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