Arthur's new teacher, Mr. Ratburn, has a reputation as the strictest teacher in school. Rumor has it that he is a vampire with magical powers, who tolerates no monkey business from his students. Mr. Ratburn does not disappoint. On the second day of school, he announces a spelling quiz that week for 100 words. He's preparing the class to enter the school Spell-a-thon. The top two students get to represent the school for a spelling bee. Arthur puts his head to the grindstone, finding a good place to study. His whole family helps.
When quiz day comes, Arthur can smell another class making popcorn. Still another class is going on a field trip. Arthur is stuck inside, taking a test.
However, Arthur's reward pays off at the Spell-a-thon. He correctly spells "preparation" to win.
Like all Arthur books, this one teaches a valuable lesson without being overly didactic. Arthur is the appropriate "everykid," who is neither the smartest, the fastest, the slyest, nor the strongest. He is merely one who tries to do the right thing. Sometimes that thing is not clear. Sometimes it is painful. Nevertheless, following his values generates rewards.
The books are illustrated brightly and beautifully with watercolor and pen drawings by Brown. I highly recommend it for ages 5-8.