Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook, by Michael Garland, Dutton Children's Books, 2003. (Preschool/Early Elementary)
Some years ago I drew a pen and ink graphic for the literacy program at our library. It showed an open door with stacks of books and some of the characters come to life. I thought I was pretty clever. I was not, however, as clever as Michael Garland in Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook.
Miss Smith is the second-grade teacher that you wished you had. She has rather punk-y red hair, red cat-eye glasses, and best of all, she sports red Converse high-tops. She reads from an incredible storybook that brings characters to life, not just in an imaginary way as any good reader can, but in a way that fills the classroom. Imagine the possibilities, and you have Michael Garland's book.
Michael Garland is an artist of astounding range. The illustrations for this book are phenomenal and add to the magic that is this story.