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Book Review

Miss Daisy Is Crazy by Dan Gutman has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the "My Weird School" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

A.J. likes video games and football. He hates school. When he mentions this to his new teacher, Miss Daisy, on the first day of second grade, she admits she hates school, too. She says she’d rather sit at home on the couch eating bonbons and watching TV.

When it’s time to study math, A.J. learns Miss Daisy hates it as much as he does. In fact, she doesn’t understand the simple multiplication the kids repeatedly explain to her. Mr. Klutz, the bald principal, comes to speak to the class about rules. They quiz him about his hairless head and ask him if the rumors about a dungeon for bad kids are true.

At spelling time, Miss Daisy confesses she can’t spell. She asks the kids to write some of the words they can spell on the board. A.J. is baffled that someone so dumb could have become a second-grade teacher. At lunch, A.J. and his friends talk about Miss Daisy and her strange behavior. They wonder if she could be an imposter. Maybe she kidnapped their real teacher and tied her to railroad tracks.

The kids think about telling the principal their suspicions until A.J. reminds them how good they have it. If Mr. Klutz discovers Miss Daisy’s ignorance, he will fire her and hire a real teacher. Then the kids will actually have to learn. The other kids agree with A.J. and decide to keep their mouths shut about Miss Daisy being dumb.

At recess, the kids talk about buying the school and turning it into a video-game arcade. Next, the class visits the nurse’s office. A.J. believes the nurse, Mrs. Cooney, is a spy. He bases this on the fact that she has a suspicious-looking chart written in code on her wall (an eye chart) and has lots of strange tools. Mrs. Cooney weighs and measures the students, and A.J. is sure she’s gathering this information for her spying purposes.

Miss Daisy asks the kids what they’d like to be when they grow up. A.J. says he wants to be a football player, because a friend told him football players don’t really need to know things like math and spelling. The next day, Miss Daisy brings in bonbons for the class. They try to use the bonbons to teach her about math, but she still seems confused. She also asks questions about football. The kids tell her about the length of the field, and she sneaks in a math lesson.

Mr. Klutz visits the class and says he’s heard they want to use the school as an arcade. He says if the student body will read 1,000,000 pages, the kids can have the building for a night. As a bonus, he will dress in a gorilla suit for the event. The kids begin reading like crazy, and Miss Daisy puts a giant thermometer poster in the hallway to track their progress.

Miss Daisy invites a football player to speak to the class. The player is one of A.J.’s favorites. Miss Daisy asks him if it’s true that football players are dumb and don’t need to know things like math and spelling. He explains that he uses all of those things to study his playbook and write letters to fans. He also says he went to college and plans to return to school to be a doctor at the end of his football career.

The kids at A.J.’s school meet their reading goal. Parents bring video-game systems to the school for one night, and Mr. Klutz dresses up like a gorilla. A.J. plays video games until he’s sick of them and says it’s the best night of his life.

The next day, Miss Daisy tells the kids she knows nothing about history. She asks them to tell her what they know. A.J. thinks he sees her trying to read a book later on, but he knows she can’t read. He tells her not to feel bad. He assures her they will help her learn her subjects, and they won’t tell Mr. Klutz how dumb she is. She hugs him gratefully. A.J. says it won’t be easy getting Miss Daisy up to second-grade level this year, but he will try.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

Miss Daisy pretends to be ignorant so that the kids will have to teach her their subjects in school. She pays attention to the kids’ interests and incorporates them into her lessons. Motivational Mr. Klutz has a sense of humor, allowing the kids to touch his bald head. He dresses up like a gorilla for the kids’ video-game party.

Profanity/Violence

The word butt appears a few times.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

7 to 10

Author

Dan Gutman

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

HarpterTrophy, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Released

On Video

Year Published

2004

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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