Saturday, August 30, 2008

School Days: Slippers at School by Andrew Clements

Slippers wakes up to the feeling that something important is happening inside the big house. He wanders in, but Laura is in too big a hurry to slip him the usual tidbits from her breakfast. It is the morning of the first day of school, and she seems to have forgotten all about her puppy. What can Slippers do?

Grabbing her jacket and backpack, Laura looked around for her dog. "Here, Slippers! Come say goodbye"

Baby Edward called, too, but Slippers didn't come.

"The bus is coming!" Mom said. "We'll say goodbye to Slippers for you!"

At school Laura laughs with her classmates and stows her jacket and backpack in her new cubby. Sitting down, she can't resist the new box of markers on her desk and begins to draw a picture of her puppy.

But over in her cubby, her backpack begins to wiggle and a wet black nose and two brown ears poke out.

A boy sitting next to Laura saw Slippers. He said, "A dog!"

Laura smiled and held up her picture. "Yes! This is my dog Slippers," she said.

"NO!" Over there!" he insisted. But when Laura turned to look, there was nothing to see. Slippers was gone!

Following an enticing smell, Slippers' nose takes him to the cafeteria kitchen, where a cook soon spots him.

"A dog!"

Her helper picked up a hot dog. "You mean this one?"

"NO! Over there!"

But when the cook looked, there was nothing to see. Slippers was gone.

Slippers puts in a cameo appearance in the gym, where two boys are practicing their gymnastic moves. When the first one shouts, "Look, a dog!" the other corrects him with "The TEACHER calls this a horse."

But of course Slippers is gone again, this time to turn up in the office. where the Principal calls to her sweater-clad secretary, "It's a dog!!" Pointing to the appliqued animal on her front, the secretary shakes her head. "It's a CAT!" she says.

But Slippers follows his nose back to the Laura's cubby and the safety of her backpack, where he sleeps soundly all the way back home.

Laura's mom and Edward meet her bus, where they urge her to help them look for Slippers, who hasn't been seen all day. Dropping her backpack, Laura runs to help find her puppy. But when Laura calls, her puppy appears sleepily and gets a big hug from everyone.

"School was fun," said Laura. "Can't Slippers come to school someday?"

"It's a nice idea," said Mom, "but school is no place for a puppy."

Clifford's been there; Biscuit's been there; and even Ribsy has sneaked into school with Henry Huggins, but Slippers' secret is safe with us. In Andrew Clements' new Slippers at School, the author takes a now-you-see-him-now-you-don't turn on the old dog at school plotline. His carefully crafted text is just right for emergent readers or for first-day Kindergartners and first graders who wish their own pets could make that scary trip with them.

Other books in this series are Naptime For Slippers and Slippers at Home (Slippers).

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