Miss Nelson Is Back

Common Sense Media says

Humorous tale of mistaken identity.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The kids deceive their principal and misbehave, but by the end of the story it's unlikely they will do so again.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the situation is very appealing to kids.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When Miss Nelson has to have her tonsils removed, her mischievous class takes advantage of their substitute teacher, Mr. Blandsworth. It takes Miss Nelson's ultra-ego Viola Swamp to get those bratty kids back in line in this humorous tale of mistaken identity. James Marshall's witty illustrations add to the fun.

Is it any good?


One piece of ridiculousness is piled upon another, like kindling, until readers spontaneously burst into laughter. The scene where Viola Swamp, sporting a Miss Nelson mask, confounds the dimwitted Mr. Blandsworth is priceless. James Marshall gets it oh-so right with his joyously silly, expressive pen-and-wash artwork. Readers can feel the glee coming off the page when the kids realize they have pulled a fast one on Mr. Blandsworth, and the marvelous Miss Nelson is like a Buddha in her serenity and wisdom.

This story cracked up a group of 5-year-olds -- who have not yet spent a day in kindergarten -- though there was a pause in their laughter every time a new shadow appeared behind the pane of frosted glass in the classroom door. Who's coming to substitute for Miss Nelson? Yikes!

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the lesson taught to the class. What did they ultimately learn from Miss Swamp?

Book details

Author:Harry Allard
Illustrator:James Marshall
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Publication date:January 1, 1982
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

This review of Miss Nelson Is Back was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written bydjpoles January 5, 2009

i laugh

i liked it.
Teen, 13 years old Written byLil. Jonquetta June 3, 2010

The Perfect Book

I love it...My child will always enjoy it... My child said for now on she will read everyday even on the weekends plus school days... She said she will read 1 hour on the weekday and 4 hours on the weekend... Wow doesnt that make people really want to publish more books...
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old November 2, 2009


i Love it
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages


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