When you’re a kid, teachers seem like they’re a different species altogether. If you spot a teacher outside of their natural habitat, maybe down the shops on a Saturday or in their car at the traffic lights, then you feel like you have witnessed something truly out of the ordinary.
In your head you’ve built up an idea of them; to you they’re some sort of detention obsessed, uniform enforcer summoned from the depths below to make your life a misery, but when you see them outside of class they’re prancing around like an ordinary person, doing ordinary person things.
My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) by illustrator Peter Brown takes on this fearsome childhood belief that teachers are not quite human and goes about showing us that just a quick dose of perspective might reveal your teacher to not only be a human being, but a rather nice one at that.
Following the story of Bobby, the book introduces us to his teacher Miss Kirby, a fearsome green monster in a frock who stomps and roars and has the power to revoke playtime for something as harmless as throwing a paper airplane in the classroom. One day, little Bobby is at the park minding his own business when he bumps into his fierce, scary teacher.
Bobby becomes the hero of this story, saving Miss Kirby’s hat from mortal peril after it’s kidnapped by a gust of wind. The two then have a day of adventures together and Bobby begins to think that Miss Kirby might not be a monster after all.
As the book goes on, Miss Kirby begins to look less like a monster and more like a young lady. This slow but obvious transformation holds an important lesson about considering other people’s feelings and taking a fresh perspective. Dedicated “To misunderstood teachers and their misunderstood students”, the book helps teach kids that teachers are people too.
A monstrously heartwarming fairytale for little monsters, Peter Brown has mastered the picture book formula with this new release, which has dashings of imagination, a hint of adventure, and a moral lesson to boot. Brown‘s simple, bold illustration style is framed by a great use of white space and enhanced by a green hued colour palette, and grainy textures add an extra beastly element to the book. Adults and kids alike will love reading this outloud (in funny voices of course) and eyeballing the illustrations!
Peter Brown is one of my all-time favourite illustrators, and you can read my interview with him HERE and take a quick tour of his studio HERE. We’ve also managed to get a sneak peek of some of the early development illustrations for the book, and you can see them below. HOORAY!