It's Show and Tell Time This Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Thinking back to my elementary school days, one of my favorite memories circles around show and tell time. Although I never brought in anything out of the ordinary, one girl in my class did.

While the first kids to share held their items for all to see, Jane walked to the front of Mrs. Kelly’s third-grade classroom with a paper bag clutched in her hands. Clearly nervous about her choice of what to share, Jane’s knuckles grew whiter the harder she clenched the rolled up top of that bag, desperate to keep whatever she’d brought from escaping. Or so we believed…

Jane looked long and hard at her bag. Then, she looked at the teacher.

Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle.

Jane unfolded the crimped top and reached her hand into the bag. No one breathed while we waited to see what lurked within.

“This is a freshly cut chicken foot,” Jane said. “My family raises chickens, and I can make this foot move.”

Was she kidding?

When Jane grabbed a dangling tendon and gave it a tug, every squeamish girl in room 305 grossed out as the claw-like foot gripped and released like a grizzled witch’s hand. The boys, however, circled Jane, eager for a turn to make the foot clench next. When Jane went on to tell us how long a chicken can run around without its head, Mrs. Kelly changed the rules of Show and Tell. From that day on, all items brought in to share had to pass her approval.

And this brings me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Review.

Title – Rotten Teeth

Written by- Laura Simms

Illustrated by – David Catrow

Published by- Houghton Mifflin Company – 1998

Topics – Show and Tell, sharing,

Opening – Melissa Hermann was the shortest person in her first-grade class. She was also the only one who hadn’t brought in anything for Show and Tell.

Elaine Estes showed the class a plastic dinosaur footprint. Carmine Appaseed shared his entire glow-in-the-dark sticker collection. Even shy Fern Miller had brought in her baby hamster. It sat in a cage in the room all morning.

But nothing from Melissa’s house seemed special enough.

Synopsis from AmazonSpeaking in front of the class isn’t easy for small people like Melissa Herman. Especially when there’s nothing very special to say about her house or her family or herself. But with the help of her older brother, Melissa borrows a bottle from her father’s dental office to take to show and tell. The teacher is appalled, but the children are intrigued. David Catrow’s hilariously zany illustrations reveal that there is nothing ordinary about Melissa Herman, or her house or her family. The bright artwork is laugh-aloud funny and will have children begging to hear the story again, or maybe invent their very own tale.

Why do I like this book? Right from the start, the reader is intrigued to learn why Melissa hasn’t brought anything for Show and Tell. Is her home that normal? That boring? However, the humorous illustration on the opening page reveals Melissa does not live an ordinary life. This first look at the outside of her house hints that some strange and mysterious oddities lurk within. Maybe Melissa doesn’t think anything would be interesting enough to bring and share, but her big brother does, and boy does Melissa get a reaction from her classmates and teacher! On the entertainment scale for picture books, I give this gem a solid ten.

Hop over to Laura Simms web site HERE.

Learn more about David Catrow HERE


If you have a fond, funny, or otherwise memorable memory about Show and Tell, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Until next Friday!


  1. Helen Zax

    I just found Watch Out for Chicken Feet in Your Soup in my bookcase yesterday. Do you know that one?

  2. Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

    Thanks for letting me know about the book, Watch Out for Chicken Feet in Your Soup. I just brought it up on YouTube and listened to a reading of it. And… I loved the story!

  3. Jilanne Hoffmann

    Oh, this is so so funny. I cannot wait to read this. Thank you for sharing your own story about Show and Tell. It was a great lead-in!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      Thanks so much, Jilanne. I love finding books to review that I can relate to. This one tops my list. I hope you find it in your library. This is a truly fun and funny picture book.

      • Jilanne Hoffmann

        I’ve already put it on hold at the library. I’m second in line. It’s an older title, and the SFPL system only has six copies in circulation.

  4. Maria Marshall

    This sounds like an Addams Family meets First Grade. I am very intrigued and hope my library has it or I can get through an interlibrary loan. Thank Leslie for highlighting this book and sharing your “gross” show-and-tell memory. 🙂

  5. Patricia Tilton

    What a hoot! This book has to really catch kids by surprise when Melissa pulls out her item to share. Can’t imagine the illustrations! However, I’ll have to admit your chicken-foot story sounds just as funny.
    I always enjoy the memories you share before you get to your review!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      Thanks, Patricia. Finding books I can relate to are great fun to review. (Especially when the book triggers a memory involving the foot of a chicken…)

  6. ptnozell

    This looks fun & funny! And I loved your lead in!

  7. Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

    Thanks so much! I hope you’ll check out this book. The combination of text and marriage make this a fun and funny book to read.

  8. roughwighting

    That’s a fun and funny memory of Show and Tell, Leslie. I’m a little embarrassed to relate here that one Thanksgiving when our kids were young and we shared the day with another family with young kids, my husband did the ‘chicken foot’ trick. I (and the other mother) was horrified, but it was a big hit around the kid table. 🙂
    Thanks for the sweet review of a neat new children’s book.

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      It’s amazing how the chicken foot trick can be such a crowd-pleaser with kids. That said, when Jane pulled the chicken foot out for show and tell years back, lunch lost all its appeal for me that day.

      • roughwighting

        🙂 Yes, I didn’t eat much turkey that Thanksgiving Day, either.