Mrs. Morgan is the meanest neighbor, ever. Every time the neighborhood kids accidentally kick a ball onto her lawn, she keeps it. Nothing is allowed to touch her precious lawn, not even the falling leaves. The kids can't imagine what she could possibly be doing with all of their confiscated toys, but it's probably something evil. Their parents tell them that's just how some people are, but Mrs. Morgan must have been born mean. When one little boy goes to speak to Mrs. Morgan about his favorite missing soccer ball, she pretends she doesn't know what he's talking about. The balls continue to be locked up, until the boy does an unexpected favor for Mrs. Morgan while she's in bed with a bad cold. As it turns out, Mrs. Morgan might not be a mean old lady after all.
This book was a favorite when my brother and I were little. I recently unearthed it while raiding our shelves for books to add to my classroom collection, and I'm surprised that it's in such good shape, considering that I still have it (mostly) memorized, meaning that it got considerable use between the two of us. It's not one that you could find in just any bookstore (it was published in the 90's), but it's worth ordering online. The biggest lesson comes at the end, and is perfectly summed up by the little boy's observation that, "some people are full of surprises."
Bottom Line Rating: 5/5
Recommended for ages 5-8 (grades K-3)
Title: Mrs. Morgan's Lawn
Author: Barney Saltzberg
Publisher: Hyperion Paperbacks for Children, 1998 (Originally pub. 1993)
Source: Home Collection