The world's best class plant

Liz Garton Scanlon

Book - 2023

A class that is terribly disappointed in their lack of a class pet discovers that having a class plant is the best thing ever.

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Children's Room jE/Scanlon Due Jun 23, 2024
Picture books
New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons 2023.
Main Author
Liz Garton Scanlon (author)
Other Authors
Audrey Vernick (author), Lynnor Bontigao (illustrator)
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Ages 3-7.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

This laugh-out-loud, earnestly lovely picture book about a class plant who grows into his full potential is a must-read--preferably aloud--for classrooms and young readers who might be skeptical about plants. Arlo's classroom, 109, has a class plant, which he finds pretty boring compared to the other rooms' cockatiel, chinchilla, and bearded dragon. But when the class finally gives the plant a name, Jerry, they begin to see just how much fun a class plant can be. As they all learn about Jerry and Jerry blooms into the best class plant in the world, the students learn not only about taking care of plants but also about celebrating with one another. This is an adorably fun read with great classroom appeal and just the right amount of real plant information to keep kids interested in the humor and fun but still leave them intrigued by plants. The soft realism of Bontigao's illustrations, naturally full of lots of greenery, brings in the eye and will keep readers moving around the page to discover new joys.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A "mostly green, hardly growing" spider plant provides classroom 109 with a lesson about keeping an open mind in this amiable botanical picture book by Vernick and Garton Scanlon. Student Arlo, portrayed with tan skin, feels disappointed that his teacher insists on flora for a class pet, but the whole class's perception of the potted pet's merits shifts with the bestowal of a name: Jerry. Soon, everyone is wild about the leafy subject, and Bontigao's realistically cartooned digital art playfully demonstrates the kids' growing care and fascination, building to a festive schoolwide Jerry Appreciation Day. As the year progresses and then wraps up, the teacher (whose name has meaningfully shifted for Arlo from "Mr. Boring" to "Mr. Perfect") offers a fitting send-off, and the narrative concludes by jumping forward to the next school year's classroom, where Arlo's growth is tested by another unlikely "pet." The child's transformation from disengaged to open-minded offers an encouraging picture of students blooming intellectually and emotionally through care. Plant info concludes. Ages 3--7. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Horn Book Review

Arlo is unimpressed by his class's "mostly green, hardly growing, never moving plant," especially because various other rooms in his school have a cockatiel, a chinchilla, and a bearded dragon. The plant is so boring that sometimes the class forgets it's there -- that is, until they name it Jerry. (Everybody, after all, "likes feeling special.") Now that "the blob" has a name, the class is fired up: they give the plant more love, and it blossoms, even creating spiderettes (or "little baby Jerrys"). Soon the class plans -- and the entire school celebrates -- Jerry Appreciation Day. Scanlon and Vernick bring humor and an ear for the dialogue of elementary-school classrooms to this lively text. The teacher's name, for instance, morphs throughout the book from "Mr. Boring" to "Mr. Bummer" to "Mr. Patient," each followed by "(not his real name)." Eventually, he's "Mr. Perfect (should be his real name)." Bontigao brings a diverse group of students to these pages and captures bustling elementary classrooms with details and precision. Jerry Appreciation Day, an outdoor day of fun, is especially festive. Plant-care tips are appended. (c) Copyright 2024. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A plant implants itself upon students. Color Arlo and his Room 109 classmates bored. Unlike the pets in neighboring classrooms, their plant mascot does nothing. It barely grows. The plant seems so insignificant that the kids sometimes forget to water it. Their teacher Mr. Boring ("not his real name"; in a riotous turn, he's assigned various aliases over the course of the story) claims the plant is "more than enough excitement for us." Oddly, when the plant is named Jerry, he does become exciting, and the kids solicitously tend to him. Even stranger: Jerry gets greener and longer, eventually requires repotting, and acquires an identity. Jerry's a spider plant, meaning he produces "little baby Jerrys," aka spiderettes. Soon Room 109, with "Mr. Patient's" approval, plans a "Jerry Appreciation Day" with costumes, snacks, and activities. This news goes viral, other students ask to trade their class pets for Jerry, and the whole school attends. Laden with humorous charm, this wise, beautifully written story delivers some plant knowledge, fosters empathy for a living thing, and promotes cooperation. The colorful, clean-lined digital illustrations burst with energy. Arlo and his teacher are brown-skinned; the students are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.) This book will genuinely grow on readers. Don't be surprised when kids clamor for a plant of their own. (so you're ready to raise a plant of your own...) (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.