In “Miss Malarkey Doesn’t Live in Room 10,” the children in Miss Malarkey’s first grade class think she must live at the school. They’ve never seen her anywhere else, after all, and she has all of her supplies right there, and she never forgets to bring her gym clothes, so it stands to reason that she must live at the school. Maybe all the teachers do. Maybe they sleep in the teachers’ lounge and that’s why children aren’t allowed to go in there – the teachers don’t want the children to see their messy room.
But one day this perception changes when Miss Malarkey actually moves in to the apartment building where one of the kids in her class also lives. He can hardly believe it, and neither can the other children when he tells them. A teacher doesn’t need a place to live! They have the school, right? What’s even more amazing is that Miss Malarkey seems to have a life of her own outside of school. She goes to the grocery store. She has friends over. And, believe it or not, she wears red toe nail polish. He discovers this while taking her a plate of cookies from his mother – she answers the door barefoot!
This funny picture book geared for ages 5-9 addresses the issue that sometimes, children forget that their teachers are people too.
The second book in the Miss Malarkey series is told through the viewpoint of Miss Malarkey herself, and is called “Miss Malarkey Won’t Be in Today.”
The poor lady has a temperature of 103. 2, and she feels terrible. She calls in sick, which she hates to do, but she doesn’t have a choice. There’s no way she can teach today. Mr. Wiggins, the principal, hates it when teachers call in sick because then he has to find a substitute. This creates a whole new worry for Miss Malarkey – which substitute will he call?
She hopes it’s not Mr. Doberman. That guy is just too strict. Or how about meek little Mrs. Ungerwear. The children just can’t help themselves; they would have to call her Mrs. Underwear. She’s not equipped to deal with that sort of taunting. And she really hopes that it’s not Mr. Lemonjello. He’s a nervous man and probably wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Miss Malarkey’s stress levels escalate as she pictures all the things her class will do while she’s gone. They’ll let the iguana out of the cage! They’ll swing from the light fixtures! They’ll paint the walls and ceiling blue!
She can’t take it anymore. Still in her robe, she dashes down to school, only to feel faint once she gets there. The children take her in to the nurse and tuck her in to bed, telling her to rest up and get better. They’ll be okay, they tell her, and if they get Ima Berper for their sub, they’ll know exactly what to do.
(“Miss Malarkey Doesn’t Live in Room 10” was published in 1995 and “Miss Malarkey Won’t Be in Today” was published in 1998, both by Walker Publishing and both illustrated by Kevin O’Malley.)