Señor Smarty Pantaloons and the Mystery of the Missing Teachers
by Regina Davis and Carolyn Royer Spencer
illustrated by Carolyn Royer Spencer

"Señor Smarty Pantaloons
Wearing pantaloons of gray,
Always to the rescue
With his cosmic, high-tech ways!"

A children's book written by two elementary school teachers, Señor Smarty Pantaloons, tells the story of teachers mysteriously going missing from Foxaloon Elementary School. Each disappearance follows a request for a teacher to visit the principal, Foxanna Powerpaws. The students sneakily listen in on the principal yelling at the teachers for losing an inconsequential item and observe that each time a teacher is called to the principal's office, the next day the teacher is gone. The students want to get to the bottom of the disappearances and go to the school robot, Señor Smarty Pantaloons.

The title character has less to do with the book than one might imagine. A high-tech robot that only actively features on two pages out of fourteen and serves more as a metaphor for technology's replacement of human jobs than a helpful character. Indeed, the book has mature and political themes underlying the children's seemingly innocent tale of missing teachers.

The older teachers, who have earned more jellybeans than the younger teachers, are the ones who go missing. Literally put out to pasture, they are replaced by Señor Smarty Pantaloons with the jellybeans the principal saved by dismissing the older teachers. In conjunction with the adult subject matter of educational politics, the book also seeks to inspire children to problem solve, think creatively, and to refuse to let things simply happen without asking why. The qualities the students display including inquisitiveness, curiosity, as well as a vested interest in the well-being of others, are all worthy characteristics we should all strive to achieve.

Return to USR Home