middle grade fantasy
A class of third grade students at Bailey Elementary School are getting a new teacher after they ran off Mrs. Deedee. They get Mrs. Jeepers, an woman from Romania that wears a strange green brooch that seems to glow when she rubs it. Over the course of the book, the students learn more about her which makes them question whether or not she is a vampire. But surely not, right? I mean, vampires don’t wear polka dots.
As I have recently said, I am getting to know several middle grade series that I am aware of but haven’t read before. This beginning of the Bailey School Kids series was… fine. There is nothing really remarkable going on here but for a child who loves a series, familiar characters, mystery, and fantasy, they will probably gobble this up.
My main problem is that it includes stereotypes. Romania is a real country with people that probably want to be known for more than Dracula and their “strange accent”. I have been looking at books for kids with an eye on diversity and representation and that really stuck out to me and made me uncomfortable. So while this series might be alright for some, I might try to find a good middle grade series that does a better job in that regard. I remember really loving Sachar’s Wayside books when I was young and wondered how those would read to me today as I attempt to examine through a diversity lens. Would those be a good alternative, although there are fewer books to the series? Perhaps I should revisit those soon!