Friday, July 10, 2009

School Days, Dog Days: Marley Goes to School by John Grogan

It was the first day of school, and Cassie laid out her back-to-school supplies.

Marley was all set for the big day, too. By the front door he laid out his supplies.

Check. Bone! Check. Squeaky toy! Check. Favorite blanket!

Baby Louie crawled around the corner. "Waddy go school!" he exclaimed.

Mommy looked at Marley, thumping his tail by the front door. "I don't
think so, Big Guy!" she said.

definitely don't think so," said Daddy.

Marley is unceremoniously relocated to the backyard for safekeeping while Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Louie walk Cassie to school for the first day. But Marley is NOT a dog to let a little obstacle like a chain-link fence get in the way of important business, and going where Cassie goes is, after all, HIS business. A few minutes of digging and demolishing the family's garden and he finds he can squeeze right under the fence. Putting his nose on the job, he is soon trailing Cassie all the way to her school.

"They're expecting me," Marley concludes as he scoots through the open door, but inside there are a multitude of scents and sounds and sights to distract a puppy. Where to look for Cassie in this busy place?

Bumbling into the copy center, Marley finds no Cassie; in fact, there is no one in there, giving Marley just enough time to investigate an interestingly humming copy machine. Yipes! Where did that bright light come from? Why are all those papers suddenly coming out of this thing? Marley scoots, leaving the machine methodically printing out a series of photocopies of his curious face. But Marley is off, getting on with the search for his girl.

In the cafeteria kitchen, the lunch ladies are hard at work preparing a first-day hot dog feast for the kids. Hmmmm! Marley's nose leads him, not to Cassie, but to a stainless steel bin filled with just-cooked hot dogs. Better sample those for Cassie, just to make sure they're tasty! Brrrrp! Wow, those lunch ladies in their hairnets and aprons look really mad. Guess it's time to get on with the search! Now!

Marley makes his way through the music class and the science class, where he just happens to, um, liberate a cage of white mice, through the library, where a puppy and a few stray mice shatter the quiet, on to Mrs. Weatherbee's math class, where he does add to the excitement, and on to the gym, where he can't resist grabbing the kids' basketball and making a dash for the playground. By this time the gym teacher, the lunch ladies, Vice-Principal Tanner, AND Principal Peabody are in full pursuit, and after a chase over the seesaw and through the tunnel and down the slide, Marley at last finds the object of his affections--Cassie.

Clifford, Slippers, Biscuit, and even way back when, Beverly Cleary's Ribsy, have gone to school with hilarious results, so why not Marley? Abetted by Richard Cowdrey's droll illustrations of that irrepressible rascally retriever, John Grogan's brand-new addition to the Marley series, Marley Goes to School is bound to be a hit with kids, a fun read-aloud for those first days at school for primary graders. Other Marley picture books include Bad Dog, Marley!, and A Very Marley Christmas (reviewed here); for middle readers there is Marley: A Dog Like No Other, and forthcoming August 25, a new Marley for beginning readers, Marley: Marley's Big Adventure (I Can Read Book 2).

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  • Awesome tale, love the name Marley, it is actually the name of my next pet.

    By Anonymous Buy cialis, at 12:23 PM  

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