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Dear Substitute

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  321 ratings  ·  86 reviews
When a substitute teacher named Miss Pelly comes to class, one student bristles at the change in routine-Miss Pelly doesn't follow the rules like Mrs. Giordano. But in time, our student learns that even though the substitute may do things a little differently, and she may be a bit silly, mixing things up might not be so bad.
Told in a series of epistolary poems, this funny,
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 19th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  321 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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The substitute teacher and her class
A great book that helps children learn about change, even it is for just one day with a substitute teacher. The illustrations are really cute. VCFA faculty.
Niki (Daydream Reader)
This would be a great book for a teacher to read before they have a substitute teacher.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I suspect that many children feel this frustration and angst and disconnection when a teacher is absent. It is nice that in this story the child storyteller finds a connection with the guest teacher and accepts that change is not always a bad thing. The illustrations are bordered in a way to offer much discussion with children and the style of Chris Raschka remains strong and true in even this most simple story. Though I do not see this book as a first purchase, it is well worth the time to shar ...more
Niki Marion
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it

An epistolary picturebook about the frustrations caused by a substitute teacher as documented by one disgruntled student, who soon discovers that this substitute has more to offer than might first appear.
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Super cute. Does a nice job capturing the "this-isn't-how-we-normally-do-things!" anxiety kids have when there's a sub. Will definitely be taking this with me into classrooms! ...more
Lauren Carr
"Dear Substitute" by Audrey Vernick is an extremely colorful book that details what it was like for a young class of students when an unannounced substitute teacher arrived. The story covers the student's apprehensions about the new teacher and their concern that none of the rules were being followed. However, as the story progressed the students slowly began to like the substitute and learned that it was okay that things were not going as they normally did. This book is a great example to child ...more
Age: K-2nd grade
School: Teachers

According to the narrator, the substitute teacher is doing everything wrong. While adjusting to a different schedule can be hard, something new (poetry) sparks the interest of the reluctant narrator. A collection of notes provide a unique take on this age-old problem for school-age kids. This would be a perfect book for a teacher to read to her class after some time off.
Juliana Lee
There's a substitute teacher in class today. She can't pronounce some of the children's names, know all the routines, or understand that the kids like to do things the way they are used to. Miss Pelly doesn't do things like Mrs. G and the girl writing letters doesn't like it at all... until, Miss Pelly reads the class poetry and she sees that sometimes change can be fun. ...more
Laura Mossa
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

There is no substitute for a good teacher or is there? Written as a series of humorous letters, Dear Substitute gives readers a child’s perspective of having a substitute teacher for the day. On the very first page, the young narrator immediately shares her displeasure and wonders “Where’s Mrs. Giordano and why didn’t she warn us?” As the day progresses, the substitute is not held in high
Alex  Baugh
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
Having been both a classroom teacher and a substitute teacher, I found this epistolary picture book just delightful. When a young girl discovers that her teacher, Mrs. Giordano, is out for the day and there is a substitute named Miss Pelly instead, she is completely thrown off course, documenting it all in letters written to the sub. And it seems Miss Pelly can't get anything right, from mispronouncing unfamiliar names, to cancelling a library visit, to putting off cleaning the class turtle''s t ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
When Mrs.Giordano has to stay home sick, a substitute comes to run the classroom. Unfortunately though, all of her changes are really disruptive for the very young students in the class. So one of the students writes a series of poems to Miss Pelly, the substitute. Miss Pelly doesn’t know how to pronounce their names, doesn’t collect the homework that is due. The class doesn’t visit the library on their scheduled day, the turtle tank isn’t cleaned, and turns at being line leader are disrupted. M ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The desire for an expected structured routine during the classroom day, often has a secure effect on many young children. When Mrs. Giordano gets sick, her class has Miss Pelly instead, and the routine goes awry. The substitute laughs too much as she breaks the class rules, no cleaning of the turtle tank (scheduled for today), no library today (it's Tuesday, library day), Miss Pelly isn't even aware of who should be line leader. Lots of classroom rules are being broken. Yet important ones, such ...more
Darcie Caswell
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, school
A disgruntled student writes notes to parts of the school day explaining and apologizing for everything that goes wrong when a substitute teacher leads the class. There is a note to Attendance apologizing for all the names the substitute mispronounced, to Homework explaining that it will not be collected, to Library that it will not be visited, and to the class Turtle expressing frustration that it's tank will not be cleaned on the regularly scheduled day. Clearly, this student is very upset abo ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most classic cases of a substitute teacher's name striking fear in the hearts and minds of students in the classroom is found in children's literature. In the case of this woman you can certainly judge her character by her appearance. Her frumpy black dress, striped stockings and black clunky shoes accentuate her exaggerated facial features and hair. When you combine this with her unwavering sense of discipline students have no choice but to behave with robotic-like goodness.

Miss Viol
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mock-caldecott
I really liked it but got mad that there was no librarian and therefore they couldn't go to library. Hmpf. Buy for any friends you may have who are elementary subs. ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Scanlon, Liz and Audrey Vernick Dear Substitute, illustrated by Chris Raschka. PICTURE BOOK. Disney, 2018. $18. 9781484750223.

When the little girl arrives at school, her beloved teacher isn’t there. Instead there is a substitute, who doesn’t know anything about how the classroom is supposed to work. Through a series of letters to all of the things that become mixed up, the girl expresses her displeasure, until something happens that helps her appreciate the substitute.

Too bad for this book that
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
When their teacher Mrs. Giordano is sick and a new substitute teacher, Miss Pelly takes over, things are bound to go wrong. A student writes in an epistolary poems format, explaining why Miss Pelly is doing things wrong and how she misses her teacher.

I read this cute picture book to the tots I volunteered with. They thought the book was funny. However, I am not sure they grasped the entire message of the book until we discussed the book. The book had an interesting way to encourage children to
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The young girl narrating this epistolary book expresses her surprise and dismay at discovering a substitute teacher, Miss Pelly in her classroom. The first letter is addressed to The Substitute (Why didn't Mrs. Giordano tell us?), followed by Dear Attendance (The sub can't pronounce names correctly), Dear Homework That I Stayed Up All Night Doing (she didn't collect it), Dear Library (we're not coming even though it is Tuesday), and Dear Turtle (hopefully you can survive not getting your tank cl ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it
"But sometimes you’ve got to mix things up a little. You know?"

A few thoughts I have on the book: it’s funny and insightful – I love the clever way the authors chose to write it in the form of letters written by a student to inanimate objects/abstract ideas/pets. As for the illustrations, I’ll say those who love watercolors or impressionistic art will appreciate them. The style is quite different and I wouldn’t say I prefer it, but it does complement the way Dear Substitute is structured.

Blog re
“... sometimes you’ve got to mix things up a little, you know?”

Through a series of letters, a student relays all the feelings and changes that come with having a substitute teacher for the day. From name mispronunciation to not having to turn homework in, from not going to the library to not cleaning the turtle tank. But maybe it’s okay to do things differently every now and then, especially when the substitute, Miss Pelly, reads funny poems and inspires the poet in this student.

A fun read aloud
I spent several years substitute teaching, and it can be a stressful situation when daily routines are disrupted. This cute picture book is written as a series of notes from a student stressed out by the unexpected disappearance of the classroom teacher. The progression of letters shows that the student is adjusting to a different way of taking attendance, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and going through the daily round. This would be a good book for substitute teachers to share with kids or m ...more
Well, I adore Chris Raschka's illustrations, swirly action always. And this speaks to me in different ways. I once was a substitute long ago. And it is not easy to follow guidelines, to try to be who the class wants, their regular teacher! They don't like change and do not like what things are "substituted", including the human. This young girl's letter shows that beautifully, but yet, there is a nice surprise at the end. Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernickhave made a changeup that made me sm ...more
Kirsti Call
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dear Attendance,

You're not quite right today. The substitute doesn't know how to pronounce anything.

I love how this epistolary picture book shows the frustrations of a kid whose beloved teacher doesn't show up. Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick skillful word choices are are enhanced by Chris Raschka's whimsical illustrations. This story will evoke discussion on flexibility and transitions and giving change a chance. It's an incredibly fun classroom story that will resonate with every kid.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Having spent time as a substitute teacher myself I can attest that substitutes always do things differently than the master teacher. Therefore, in the eyes of many students, WRONG! But, substitutes can also bring something new into the classroom and sometimes even surprise the students in a positive way.
This new picture book depicts a student's attitude transformation as the school day wears on at the helm of a substitute teacher.
Albeit predictable, young children would like;y benefit from heari
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-tour
This was a sweet and relatable book. The protagonists’ day is completely thrown off by this new substitute who’s shown up to take over the classroom for the day.

I loved the illustrations and the writing style reminded me of free verse which I really liked. I wasn’t sure of how the story would go from the middle on but the ending was really sweet and I loved it.

Rating: 4 Stars!

Recommendation: ages 1 & up

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was read to us at a Hyperion preview event at ALA and it is a real delight. Vernick and Scanlon get the text just right and Chris Raschka's illustrations are bright, bold and nicely matched to the text. Children are not usually happy with substitutes or changes to classroom routine and this charming story made me laugh out loud. Perfect for kids, teachers and classroom read alouds. ...more
Lynn  Davidson
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
When the regular teacher is out sick, the substitute teacher changes around the whole day's schedule and activities. She's not liked very well ... at first. Sometimes it's hard to be comfortable with change, and this story helps readers see it isn't so bad after all if you are willing to look for the good things. Cute ending. ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I know how much children dislike substitutes for their teacher but the child in this story comes around after all the changes the substitute makes and when she teaches them something new. The substitute does what substitute teachers do, she changes everything and bungles up a lot of things. But the children survive and embrace the changes. Fun read.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Cute book about a small girl's experience with a substitute teacher who doesn't know ANYTHIIIING but eventually mixes things up a little in the right way.

(However, as someone who has subbed, things like library day and tank cleaning day are important, and keeping the line-leader schedule is ALSO important!)
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Audrey Vernick is the author of books for young readers.

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Scarlet's Tale, illustrated by Jarvis

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