Miss Kraken by Nicki Greenberg

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760637743.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour, Read aloud, School, Marine creatures. Kids will laugh out loud at this very funny look at a class's response when an unexpected teacher turns up for the new year. The children's faces show amazement as the large sea creature appears, their expressions at once wide-eyed, quizzical and a little concerned. But there Miss Kraken sits, nestled onto her eight tentacles at the front of the classroom, one leg having written her name neatly on the backboard.
And she is a cranky teacher, writing up an endless list of rules on the blackboard, confiscating all manner of things not allowed, her multiplicity of tentacles coming in very handy (whoops).
When she announces that they are to go on an excursion, the children are disconcerted; usually trips outside the classroom are fun, but with all the rules Miss Kraken imposes, they are not looking forward to their day out.
Greenberg uses pencil, ink and watercolour for her illustrations, using photography with digital drawing and collage to complete these eye popping illustrations.
Miss Kraken is a wonderful creature, her eyes peering out from the font cover, her tentacles spreading across many pages fulfilling a variety of tasks. The children's faces are a scream as they take in their new teacher, showing resignation at the regime imposed, concerned when they cannot find her at the aquarium, only to have their fears return when their replacement teacher shows up.
This is fun from start to finish, readers will love Miss Kraken, the tricks she can do, the fear she engenders and the search for a place to call home in the aquarium.
Touches about school life, new teachers and excursions are priceless, from the students' behaviour, the manager asking where their teacher is, the children changing from poorly behaved to concerned about losing the teacher, their eyes searching in the dark of the muted aquarium. Readers will love recognising the things they have done on excursions and search each watery page for the now elusive Miss Kraken.
The Kraken of mythology will intrigue readers who wish to delve further, and accessing this Kraken site will satisfy their curiosities and augment the fun they will have in reading this book. Scroll down for teacher's tips.
Fran Knight