Author: Kathy Sattem Rygg
Year published: 2011
Number of pages: 108
Recommended age: 5+
Daughter Rating: ★★★★★
Son Rating: ★★★★★
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewed by: Renee, Danielle, and Dominic (Mother, Daughter, and Son)
Summary (from Amazon): The third-graders at Coyote Run Elementary thought the teacher’s lounge is where teachers eat candy out of vending machines, watch TV and get to play video games. They didn’t expect it to be a tropical island where they are kidnapped by pirates, a circus where they learn the flying trapeze, or a crime scene where they solve a jewelry heist.
Each chapter of this young middle-grade fantasy tells the story of a different student’s adventure in the teacher’s lounge accompanied by their mysterious new teacher, Mr. K. Only one student, Sam, decides to boldly go into the teacher’s lounge by himself where he discovers something completely different yet.
What it’s about: This book is about a teacher named Mr. K who is a very different teacher. The kids in his class sometimes needed help so he brought them into the teacher’s lounge which had all kinds of different stuff like a circus, a submarine, and a beach with buried treasure and pirates.
What I liked and disliked about it: At the start of the book, it was funny what the kids thought was in the teacher’s lounge (e.g., video games, TV, etc.), but it was even better than that. Mr. K was really cool because in his classroom he had picnic tables for desks, apple trees growing in the room, and a traffic light hanging from the ceiling but the funny thing is that he is very, very tall. I wish I could have a teacher like him.
There were lots of funny lines in the book like when Sam always called one of the girls Hamburger for her last name but her real name was Huggenburger. I liked all of the adventures that the kids went on with Mr. K. My favorites were when Paige went horseback riding to learn about rhythm and when Karly went to the circus to become a trapeze artist. I liked that, if you pay attention to what the words say, some of the teachers in the school were in the teacher’s lounge on the adventures with them but in disguise.
I wish that they would have talked about what happened with the football game at the end. I wish there could have been more adventures. I was sad when the book ended.
My bottom line: This is one of the best books that I’ve read and I would recommend it to everybody.
What it’s about: This book is about a mysterious teacher named Mr. K. The class goes into the teacher’s lounge and they find themselves in different places like the circus, the beach, and in a submarine in the ocean.
What I liked and disliked about it: I loved everything about this book. I liked how they went to different places just by going through the door to the teacher’s lounge – it was cool. I liked the sticky chair because it was funny. My favorite adventure was when they went in the ocean because what they saw was really cool. I liked that they saw the sunken ship, the octopus, and the shark.
There is nothing I didn’t like about this book.
My bottom line: This book is the best book ever. I would recommend it to everybody.
What it’s about: Meet the mysterious Mr. K, Coyote Run Elementary School’s new teacher. The grade Three students are in for a big surprise when the teacher’s lounge magically transforms into exotic and unusual settings and sends them, along with Mr. K and some of their other teachers, on quests combining adventure, intrigue, and important learning opportunities.
Follow along with third graders Max, Karly, Paige, Zach, and Cayden finding buried treasure while being chased by pirates, performing trapeze in a circus, and exploring the depths of the deep, dark ocean among other adventures. But the most important lesson is learned by the class bully, Sam when he ventures into the teacher’s lounge alone.
What I liked and disliked about it: Every now and then my kids and I get very excited about a book. Tall Tales With Mr. K is one of those books. Not only did we not want to stop reading this book (plowing through it in two sittings), but we didn’t want the story to end!
We all really enjoyed the highly creative and imaginative settings and plot. It is always a big deal when kids start school in September with a new teacher; but Mr. K is a most unusual (and totally likable) teacher. Not only is the teacher’s lounge a portal to a series of other worlds, but Rygg creates a magical setting within the classroom as well with its traffic light, apple trees, and picnic tables. In short, Mr. K and his classroom are precisely what every Grade 3 student dreams of – as aptly noted by my daughter above.
There are five main adventures described in the book, each contained within a separate chapter. The adventures are not random. Each student is whisked away on an adventure after confiding to Mr. K that they are struggling with a particular skill set (e.g., mathematics, musical rhythm, physical education, etc.). I really liked how the adventures were designed to be learning opportunities for the kids. I think this goes a long way in teaching children that there are many life experiences from which they can learn and hone so many different skills. Not everything is learned in a school setting.
The dialogue amongst the children was hilarious, and might I add, totally accurate (being a Mom of a child who just finished Grade 3!) In fact the book is heavy in dialogue and we all really enjoyed that. The first chapter begins with the following dialogue taking place amongst the students:
“What have you heard about him?” Sam asked, hoisting his backpack higher on his shoulder.
“Not much. Just that he’s Coyote Run’s new third-grade teacher,” said Max, scrunching his nose to keep his wire-rimmed glasses from slipping.
“Hey Hamburger, your mom’s on the PTA. She must know something,” Sam said.
“It’s Huggenburger, and all she said was that he’s ‘unconventional,'” Paige said over her shoulder.
There are so many examples of the cleverness and cheekiness of the students in the book. I could totally relate. In particular, we were all highly amused by the reference to ‘ABC gum’. You’ll have to read the book to decipher the acronym if you don’t already know it! Oh, and I suggest you don’t get an F in Mr. K’s class (or anything under a C for that matter). 😉
My bottom line: What can I say? We all LOVED this story and you can consider this our official plea to the author: Pleeeeease write a sequel!! While I agree with my kids about their broad recommendation, I will say that realistically, this book is appropriate for boys and girls aged 5 and up.
*TALL TALES WITH MR. K by Kathy Sattem Rygg was provided to us free-of-charge by the author.*
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Where to Buy?
(Ebook available for 99 cents in Canada and U.S.; paperback available in U.S. only)