Monday, March 8, 2010

Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day by Kate McMullan

No matter what day it is, waking up late because you don’t hear your alarm clock is a lousy way for a day to begin. When that day is April Fools’ Day, however, as happens to Wagner in One Funny Day, he is immediately thrown off guard. So when good friend Pearl informs Wagner that their teacher, Ms. Star, is roller-skating around the classroom, he says, “She is?” Everyone starts laughing, and Pearl informs him, “Today is April Fools’ Day. And I fooled you.”

“Oh,” says Wagner, but he’s certainly not laughing.

Wagner panics when Ms. Star tells the class to turn in their homework. He freaks when the librarian, Mr. Fox, notifies him his library book is overdue and he must pay a fine. He loses his appetite when the lunch menu lists fisheye stew, french fried flies, applecore pie, and bug juice.

“April Fools!” everyone cries – even the responsible adults!

After a gym class of dancing and a glass of real bug juice from his froggy friend, Henry, Wagner is definitely having a day, but it’s not a funny day as the title implies.

Readers will be thinking, “Poor Wagner!” when he suddenly becomes ill in chapter three. What’s worse than being sent to the school nurse during silent reading time?!? When he returns to class covered in green spots, he announces his diagnosis from the school nurse: bug pox, and a bad case of it at that. It’s only contagious if he … ah-ah-ah-CHOO! … sneezes.

For as bad as Wagner’s day begins, he ends the day laughing harder than anyone else, and no, uncontrolled delirium is not a symptom of bug pox.

I was not familiar with the Pearl and Wagner series until Kate McMullan was awarded a 2010 Geisel Honor. After reading One Funny Day, beginning readers (and you) will be looking for Two Good Friends and Three Secrets and more adventures from these two good friends.

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