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Miss Nelson #1

Miss Nelson Is Missing!

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Miss Nelson is missing!

Miss Nelson was the nicest teacher in the school. She never yelled and she gave the easiest assignments. She was always smiling and cheery, even when her students cut up in class or would not open their arithmetic books nor pay attention during story hour.

Until one day Miss Nelson did not come to school – a substitute teacher came instead. What an opportunity for everyone to be even more naughty. Not so! Miss Swamp immediately laid down the law – no talking, no goofing off in class – and she gave every student loads of homework.

Where was Miss Nelson? Where was the wonderful unappreciated Miss Nelson? And so the students hunted for her high and low, with the dubious help of detective McSmogg.

Harry Allard and James Marshall, with their incisive feel for the nuances of relationships, point out with imagination and humor the folly of being inconsiderate or unappreciative.

32 pages, Paperback

First published September 9, 1977

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About the author

Harry Allard

25 books73 followers
Harry Allard was an American writer of children's books. Many of his books have received awards; a few have also been banned and challenged in the United States.

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5 stars
59,306 (55%)
4 stars
27,152 (25%)
3 stars
15,562 (14%)
2 stars
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1 star
1,482 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,592 reviews
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,120 reviews42 followers
January 13, 2022
Room 207 needs an attitude adjustment. When substitute teacher Miss Viola Swamp institutes a new standard of behavior, the kids quickly learn to toe her very strict line. Suddenly school isn't so enjoyable, and their newfound perspective has them longing for their usual and sweet teacher, Miss Nelson. When she finally returns, Miss Nelson won't reveal her secret of where she has been, and the kids won't reveal the secret behind their improved behavior. But keen readers will grin with glee as they'll know both secrets!
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,005 reviews36k followers
November 15, 2015
Look at how wonderful Matthew's review is!

He is on a mission to discover the great classic children's books!

This is a clever -wise - mystery story for 'all' ages! A Treasure!
Profile Image for Matthew.
501 reviews17 followers
November 12, 2015
To check out all my reviews: http://dancinginth3dark.blogspot.com

I remember when I was a little kid I had a teacher who should us this book and I do not remember what grade this was or if she read us the story or not. Anyway I am on this mission to discover classic children's books to read and fall in love with and for this one I found it adorable and smart. I guarantee you if I was a little kid I wouldn't make the connection till the end but since I am an adult it is quite clear where Miss Nelson went missing.

I believe teachers should read this book because I will be the first to admit that students can be absolutely cruel to their teacher regardless what age. I was in private school before the 2nd grade and I remember everyone in my grade knew how to behave without any demonstration. The moment I transfer to public school, the students were horrible. They would talk back to the teacher, make loud unnecessary noises, bully other kids, and speak foul language. I remember in my mind going what is this chaos and how do these kids behave with their parents because I guarantee you that my mother would have smacked me if I did half of what these kids were doing in public.

Having all these drama fits into this book and takes me back to memory lane. The kids are misbehaving in Miss Nelson's class and they disrespect her so one day she goes missing and her replacement is Miss Viola Swamp. Miss Nelson is a beautiful person with a similar resemblance to Glinda the Good Witch and Miss Swamp is the total opposite looking like a wicked witch. She is strict with these kids and she makes their life miserable the same way they treat Miss Nelson.

The kids are clearly desperate and want Miss Nelson back in their life so they act like detectives and hoping to find her without any luck. Luckily one day Miss Nelson walks into class and the students are ecstatic to see her again and behave the best students they can be which is great for her and looking back now, Miss Viola Swamp look awfully familiar to Miss Nelson.

This is a classic children's book which I believe every kid should read because its cute, short, and full of lessons that you should respect your teachers and elders. I didn't know there are sequels to the Miss Nelson is Missing book and I am excited to read them all to learn more of Miss Nelson's students and the return of Miss Viola Swamp.
Profile Image for Amy Forrester.
569 reviews13 followers
December 26, 2012
The students in Miss Nelson’s class, Room 207, were misbehaving again. No matter how nicely Miss Nelson asked they won’t stop talking, they won’t do their schoolwork, they were even rude during story hour! Sweet Miss Nelson knew something had to be done. The next day at school Miss Nelson did not arrive in Room 207. The students were ecstatic, until they heard an unpleasant voice hissing down the hall. The substitute teacher had arrived. Her name was Miss Viola Swamp and her mood was as ugly as her black dress. She put the kids right to work and they knew she meant business. They had stacks of homework and story hour was canceled. As the days passed the kids realized they missed Miss Nelson! They tried to find her. They even went to the police department and talked to Detective McSmogg, but Miss Nelson was nowhere to be found. When the kids spied on Miss Nelson’s house, they were scared away when Miss Swamp came around the corner. There was nothing the kids in Room 207 could do. They might be stuck with Miss Swamp forever! But then one morning they hear a sweet voice ring out, “Hello, children.” Miss Nelson had returned! And she was happy to find her class had not only missed her, but were very well behaved too! As to the whereabouts of Miss Viola Swamp, well, that’s Miss Nelson’s secret and she’ll never tell.

This humorous tale of a teacher in disguise is told in third person narrative and snappy dialogue. The text is printed in black letters against the white page and is laid out to match up with the corresponding illustration. The illustrations are done in Marshall’s signature style. The line work is wild and the characters all sport gigantic smiles, tiny eyes, and large amounts of hair. Watercolor washes provide color and background. My favorite pages show the students contemplating what terrible thing might have happened to Miss Nelson. The story could be a moralistic story about learning to behave if it weren’t for the inside joke of Miss Nelson disguising herself as Miss Swamp. This makes the ending not only satisfying, but hilarious.

Full Review at Picture-Book-a-Day: http://picturebookaday.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for Ronyell.
955 reviews322 followers
August 2, 2016

“Miss Nelson is Missing!” is a children’s book written by Harry Allard along with illustrations by James Marshall and is about how the school’s sweetest teacher suddenly disappears and is replaced by a vicious teacher who tortures the students in room 207. This book is surely a joy to read for children who love good humor and a good mystery to solve.

The book begins with the kids in room 207 misbehaving, especially since they got the reputation of being the worst-behaved class in the entire school. Miss Nelson, their teacher, tried everything to calm them down, but nothing worked, so Miss Nelson decides that something has to be done to keep the kids under control. The next day, Miss Nelson did not show up at school and the kids took this opportunity to misbehave even more. Suddenly, a scary looking woman in an ugly black dress came into the classroom and yelled at the kids to be quiet and do their homework. It turns out that the new and cruel teacher is none other than Miss Viola Swamp and the longer Miss Swamp stayed at the school, the more miserable the kids got as Miss Swamp forced the students to do so much hard work. The kids then wondered what happened to Miss Nelson and whether she will come back or not.

Will Miss Nelson return back to school?

Read this book to find out!

Harry Allard has written a clever story about how the kids of room 207 learned the hard way about behaving when they are nearly stuck with a cruel teacher when their sweet teacher suddenly disappears from school. I think it was clever about the way that the children suddenly started behaving towards the end of the book when they realized that Miss Nelson was a better teacher than Miss Swamp after they started taking advantage of her good nature. James Marshall’s illustrations are cute as the characters have black dotted eyes and pudgy cheeks. The illustration that truly stood out was the illustration of Miss Viola Swamp herself as she looked like a real witch with her long chin, her black dress and her striped stockings and she always had a scowl on her face everytime she looks at the children.


“Miss Nelson is Missing!” is a great and clever children’s book about what could happen if one does not behave properly and the importance of trying to obey authority at all times. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since I do not find anything unsuitable for the smaller children in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Profile Image for Samantha Hagler.
72 reviews4 followers
February 1, 2013
I remember this book from my childhood and I have always loved it! I think I appreciate it a little more now that I am an adult and a future teacher. This book is a great read and the colorful illustrations will definitely help readers stay engaged and wanting to read it again and again. Miss Nelson is a class teacher in Room 207 where the kids misbehave every day and show her absolutely no respect. She is a very sweet teacher and the students take advantage of her. One day, she gets fed up and decides to dress up as a "substitute" named Viola Swamp. The kids think Viola Swamp is a witch and is so mean because she yells at them, gives him a lot of homework, and makes them work extra hard. The students begin missing Miss Nelson and when she finally returns, the students have learned their lesson and never misbehave again.

This is a fun book for a read aloud which kids will enjoy and be highly interested in the whole time. It can be a good moralistic lesson that teaches the kids to be thankful for what they have and not to take advantage of people. This story can also be a good first couple of weeks of school read aloud which touches on classroom management and rules. This book can spark kids imagination and creativity and can get them writing their own story using third person and dialogue. An extension activity could be to have the kids think about their own disguise and writing a short story about what they would use it for. Also, have them craft this disguise using art supplies.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,113 reviews186 followers
January 8, 2019
When the rambunctious students in Room 207 act up one time too many, putting their good-natured teacher Miss Nelson on the spot yet again, they find that the consequences - in the form of a nasty substitute teacher named Miss Viola Swamp - are not to their liking. Suddenly, after being snapped at countless times, and practically crushed under the weight of all their new assignments, they suddenly discover that they miss Miss Nelson, and long for her return. But where is she...?

Adult readers will instantly know the answer to that question, as will observant younger ones (I always guessed reveals like this ahead of time, when I was a girl), but that won't prevent them from enjoying the story, in which a group of obnoxious kids learns to appreciate what they have in their (regular) teacher. The humor of Harry Allard's tale itself is greatly accentuated by James Marshall's illustrations - fans of the artist's George and Martha books know what to expect - which contain an abundance of quirky little details. I particularly liked the book title "Hard Words," in the scene in which the students are lugging towering piles of books, as well as the "Sharks (Very Unpleasant)" sign that accompanies the image of a shark munching on a person. Ha! With an amusing tale, complete with a surprise ending, and droll illustrations, Miss Nelson Is Missing is a title that elementary school students will love!
Profile Image for L.E. Fidler.
705 reviews75 followers
October 21, 2011
one of my greatest joys as a mother is getting the opportunity to revisit all the books i loved as a child with my daughters. last night (or, more accurately, this week), we've been studying the allard oeuvre (which fiona calls "oubray" and declares "better than camels" - i am not sure what that means, or what she thinks "oubray" is, but i like it).

poor miss nelson, her students stink. they misbehave and goof off during recreational reading hour and are total miscreants.

so she dares to live the dream, our miss nelson. she decides she's going to get those kids to work.

and she does.

the creation of viola swamp has to be the single most ingenious expression of the frustrated teacher brain ever. and miss nelson, she owns it. she dresses all in black, changes her hair, goes goth, and alters her voice.

then she works the crap out of those kids so that by the time sweet pretty miss nelson gets back, they'd rob a bank for her, if she asked.

i'm sure her methods are frowned upon, but can you blame the woman for just wanting a little decorum?

i can't.
Profile Image for Pamela.
29 reviews
April 22, 2021
When I was a teacher, this was one of my class's favorite books! Year after year, each group of children enjoyed it so much! I chuckled each time one of the children said "I hope you never go away Miss Pammy! We don't want a witch to teach us!" This book is a classic and very entertaining! It's a story which emphasizes the point that one should be grateful for what one has and not wish for something "better!" A great story with a valuable lesson!
Profile Image for Faloni ©.
2,127 reviews5 followers
January 12, 2022
“This book is about a class that always misbehaves. Miss Nelson the teacher of the misbehaved class decided to act like a really mean substitute teacher and teaches the class to listen to their teacher or there will be consequences.”

Young author
1 review1 follower
April 26, 2019
Who is it that the students miss a lot ever since she disappeared? It’s Miss Nelson she left and returned in a costume to be strict and give the kids a lesson. The kids yet didn’t seem to notice that was her.
First in this book the book shows that evil reckless students can be put back on track if they get real strict with them. For example Miss Viola Swamp gave the kids a lot of homework and took some privileges away. The students where put back on track which helped Miss Nelson more when she’s teaching.
Next in this book the Everyone always learns some way to be respectful and they would either learn the easy way or hard way it’s their choice. Students can be taught to be respectful in many ways students learned to respect the teacher. They learned to respect because Miss Viola Swamp forced them to a lot of school work and that not always everything is going to be easy. They didn’t respect Miss Nelson at first but at the end they were` missing her and once she appeared they respected her. They missed her loveliness and kindness which they ended up not doing the same evil things they do.
Finally in this book they all learn that your going to have to learn to do the opposite of what you do. I say that because the kids where disrespectful and they ended up being nice by being taught the hard way by Miss Viola Swamp
- rotten tomatoes XD
Profile Image for Jennifer.
512 reviews
March 7, 2021
This picturebook is awesome! I can see why it is still popular even though it was published in the 1970s! The content and big blocks of text suit ages 5-7 best either as a read aloud in an educational setting or for 1st graders to read on their own as an early reader. Miss Nelson has a hard time getting her class to behave until she sends in her alter ego Miss Swamp to deal with her class—very funny and educational about behavior at the same time.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,760 reviews1,218 followers
May 22, 2011
The story and the illustrations are humorous and cute. I’d have adored this book as a kid and would have reread it over & over, chortling all the while. It took me a few pages to “solve the mystery” because I am slow, but whether it’s figured out immediately, as I did, or not until toward the end, the storyline is really fun. The names and words used are funny too. Very enjoyable! This is a great picture book school story of an inventive way to get a class to behave and appreciate a good and kind and creative teacher. There are so many hilarious bits within the story and as part of the illustrations too. I especially enjoyed the titles of the homework books assigned by the “mean” teacher and the shark tank page, but I appreciated the whole book. On the book’s page it indicates that this is a series; I just might check out any other Miss Nelson books.
Profile Image for Rachel.
1,409 reviews151 followers
November 2, 2019
*thank you to Erin for recommending this book to me*

4 stars


The ending of this made me laugh out loud! What a sneaky teacher she was. I really enjoyed this and while the illustrations are basic, they are really good too. This is a lovely light read that little Rachel would have very much enjoyed to have gotten her hands on as it would have made her smile, because it did to the adult version of me too. I am interested in seeing what else Miss Nelson and her kids get up to, so hopefully I can track down more books in the series. Definitely recommended.
Profile Image for Yulisa.
2 reviews4 followers
December 21, 2018
I loved the book. Miss Nelson Is Missing is the first book i've ever read. The book is about kids who don't behave and don't listen to the teacher. the teacher disguised her self as another teacher but she was mean. The kids wanted the nice teacher back so the kids started searching for miss nelson and the mean teacher said she was dead. after a couple of days of the teacher being mean she went back to school as the nice teacher and the kids started to behave.
Profile Image for Renee.
398 reviews7 followers
October 25, 2022
I left my students hanging. We read the first part, right up to where the police are searching for Miss Nelson. The ending was just too tempting...I finished it myself after they left the room. I remember reading the book as a child, and had a vague memory of the switch, but enjoyed the reveal again as if it were the first time. Maybe I should go in character to the next class. Bwahahaha!
Profile Image for Leah.
123 reviews28 followers
May 4, 2022
Yet another read that takes me back to childhood. Miss Viola Swamp is still one of the scariest teachers around!
Profile Image for Heather.
766 reviews29 followers
December 23, 2021
I just saw someone talking about this book online and I remembered that waaaay back in the mid-80s I saw an episode of Reading Rainbow (thanks, Levar Burton!) that discussed this book and I had really wished I could read it. Well, thanks to someone reminding me of it, now I can! It's still in print but probably a reprinted edition, so I bought a copy for a reasonable price and finally I have satisfied my first-grade self's curiosity.

This book is about a sweet, pretty teacher whose students do not respect or appreciate her. They ignore her and just tear apart the classroom like in Kindergarten Cop. So she puts on a disguise and comes to school dressed like a goth and she is the meanest substitute the students have ever encountered. She scolds them and loads them up with homework and will not tolerate any of their former antics. The kids begin to miss their nice teacher and go looking for her, and even report her missing to the police. Finally she hangs up her disguise and returns to the class as herself, and now that they have seen how much worse their lives can be without her, they appreciate and respect her and no longer misbehave.

I remember when I was in the first grade I really wanted to read this book. I liked the illustrations a lot and I really enjoyed the little snippets of the story that were shown on Reading Rainbow. I'm glad I had the chance to read it even as an adult, finally, and I'll give the copy I bought to my nephew when he starts school.
Profile Image for Djamison.
9 reviews
November 11, 2015
"Miss Nelson Is Missing!" is a classic twist to the mystery genre that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Miss Nelson is a really nice and sweet teacher; one that any student would be proud to call theirs. But the students in Room 207 are unruly, disrespectful, and the most worst behaved class in the whole school. So what is a teacher to do? Miss Nelson does not show up to school for a couple of days, and the students get a glimpse of what it was like to not have such a nice teacher. Miss Viola Swamp is in charge and run a tight ship. But where is Miss Nelson? Like the students in room 207, it will become a mystery for your students as well. In order to see the fun little mystery presented, I highly encourage you to read this story with younger students. A great way to incorporate this reading into a lesson is by having students make predictions as the story goes along and have them look at clues within the pictures. Its a very quick read but a lot can be done with it. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did, especially if the students figure out the mystery of the missing Miss Nelson or is it the Missing Miss Viola? Happy Readings!!
Profile Image for Torrie Wilson.
51 reviews
July 11, 2015
I read this book as a child. I can remember that a substitute teacher was the first to introduce this book to me. I remembered because I thought it was funny that Mrs. Swamp in the book was a sub and the teacher reading it was too. I think this book is a great way to teach students how to appreciate things and to be on their good behavior because you never know what will happen if you're misbehaving.
Profile Image for Kris - My Novelesque Life.
4,642 reviews190 followers
April 28, 2019
(Review Not on Blog)

I have read this book so many times since I was kid. It is a fun book to read out loud! Miss Nelson does not show up to class and there is a new teacher, Viola Swamp! I would recommend this book to any child and parent. I need to get a copy of this book.
Profile Image for Rachel.
491 reviews54 followers
April 18, 2018
Not my favorite so far but still not a bad book. The end was a nice little chuckle, yes, the ending was good.
2 reviews2 followers
April 26, 2019
This text teaches us to not misbehave with other people. The kids in room 207 were misbehaving again. Another reason why is because in the text it says ¨They were even rude during story hour¨. When Miss Nelson said ¨Now settle down¨ with a sweet voice they didn´t settle down.This showns me how room 207 is not misbehaving with Miss Nelson.
The characters learns to respect adults. When miss swamp treated the students bad they knew how miss nelson might of felt. And another reason why the students need to respect adults is when Miss Swamp said¨And if you misbehave, you´ll be sorry¨ which gives another point
1 review
April 26, 2019

Many people think that when you do bad things
that nothing really bad is going to happen to you.
But in this case really bad will happen to these
kids if you want to learn more than keep on
reading.These kids were behaving really bad
And they got a new teacher and she was not nice.
But she was really mean to them the kids did not
like her at all but they could not do anything
about it until Miss Nelson came back.It was weeks
until any seen Miss Nelson and the kids missed her
Until one day when she came back the kids were so
Happy to see her and Miss Nelson was back.
Profile Image for Teri-K.
2,070 reviews44 followers
February 22, 2018
My seven year old grandson doesn't like reading very much, but he loved this book when I brought it home from the library and devoured the others in the series, too. He's not observant, so I had to point out the clothes in Miss Nelson's closet at the end of the book and ask him what he thought that picture meant. When he understood the joke he loved it.
12 reviews2 followers
May 24, 2012
"Miss Nelson Is Missing!" is a wonderful and hilarious book for children of all ages, and teachers too!!

Miss Nelson is a lovely, sweet and kind teacher...who has the worst behaved class in the whole school! they are rude to her and treat her terribly. One day though, Miss Nelson does not come in to school, she doesn't come in the next day either, or the next or the next! Instead, the children have a supply teacher... the nasty, mean, foul-tempered witch Miss Viola Swamp! She immediately whips the children into shape, giving them lots of extremely hard and long homework and generally makes their lives a misery, it isn't long until the children are yearning to have Miss Nelson back as their teacher, but no-one can seem to find her!

Finally, Miss Nelson comes back...the children are so relieved and happy to have her back that they are never rude to her again! It is only the black dress hanging in her closet that suggests there is a reason why we never saw miss Nelson and Miss Viola Swamp together in the same place...!!

I have read this story to children in Nursery, reception and year 2 and they all love it and ask for it again and again! Its great to see how many children notice Miss Swamp IS Miss Nelson too!

Overall, a brilliant book to read to any class, and a great idea for teachers too!!
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