I lied. There are laughs in Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson. They are concentrated in the first several chapters as Anderson lets his narrators describe middle grade hijinks - including a report on cooties, complete with diagnostic tests - and a breakdown on the types of teachers in elementary school.
Ms Bixby is one of the Good Ones, the rarest form of teacher. The book follows three boys through their sixth grade year with Ms. Bixby - a year that ends a month too soon when Ms. Bixby leaves for health reasons. Then, she leaves a week before she said she would and Topher, Steve and Brand have a mission - to give Ms. Bixby the last day she deserves, no matter the cost in money or rule-breaking.
It is a comedy of errors during which we learn more about each boy and their individual trials and hopes. These are nice kids with good parents. Good parents can still pose problems to the kids they love - and vice versa.
To say I love this book is an odd choice of words. I don't love books that make me sad. To say that I think this is a good book, a worthwhile book, a book that deserves to be read? Yeah. I can say that. Thanks, John David Anderson for writing a compassionate book for favorite teachers and their students.