Behind the Eyes: Francisco X. Stork
The Edge of the Forest, November Issue

Author Day for Room 3T: Robin Pulver

Author Day for Room 3T is a picture book for early elementary school kids, written by Robin Pulver and illustrated by Chuck Richards. It's a bright, colorful book in which much of the story is told through the zany, over-the-top pictures. Kids will feel in on a private joke as the pictures accent the relatively restrained text.

The story begins as the kids from Room 3T of Lerner Elementary School prepare for a visit by a very special guest: Harry Bookman, "a real live author". The kids read all of Harry Bookman's books, decorate the library with a big banner, draw pictures from the books, and act out the stories as plays. They have a hard time picturing the author as a regular person, and wonder things like "Do authors get thirsty."

The fantasy sequences (where the kids imagine what the author will be like) are clearly set apart, each a monochrome image of a different base color, in pointillist style. There's one where the kids imagine the author arriving in a space suit, stepping out of a rocket ship. Because "If authors were ordinary, why all the fuss and bother about this one?"

The kids are surprised, but delighted, when the author arrives through the window, jumps up on the tables, and swings from the ceiling. He fulfills their every expectation that authors are NOT ordinary people at all. This is helped by the convenience of the teacher (Mr. Topple) falling, and having to go to the nurse's office before meeting Harry Bookman, and the librarian (Mrs. Storey) losing her glasses, and not being able to see him. But the kids see him for what he is.

There are many little jokes in the text and pictures, to reward reading and re-reading. I love the picture of one girl reading while standing on her head, blond braids strewn across the floor. There's also a place where Mr. Topple is lecturing, and we see one of the kids drawing a caricature of him as a monkey (before the author arrives). And, of course, the names of the school and the characters are all tongue-in-cheek.

The book ends with a page of "Harry Bookman's Tips for Hosting a Successful Author Visit." I can see this book encouraging kids to push for author visits at their own schools (though they are likely to be disappointed when regular people show up, and don't swing from the rooftops). Overall, I think that Author Day for Room 3T is a fun book that will get kids excited about author visits, and make them laugh. I think that authors who have made school visits will also enjoy it. 

Book: Author Day for Room 3T
Author: Robin Pulver, illustrated by Chuck Richards
Publisher: Clarion Books
Original Publication Date: May 2005
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4-8
Source of Book: Review copy from Clarion