Sunday, July 29, 2018

School Rules: We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Penelope Rex was nervous.

It's not every day a little T. Rex starts to school.

She's got all the necessary school gear. Mom's got her a new backpack and a cool Little Pony lunchbox, packed with 300 tuna sandwiches and a box of apple juice, and she's pretty in pink in her new overalls. But still Penelope worries.

"What are my classmates going to be like? How many teeth will they have?"

But it's Penny's classmates who should be worried. They are all children, and Penelope already knows one thing about children. They are tasty.

So she ate them!

Oops. Her teacher, Mrs. Noodleman, catches her in the act, one Kindergarten-sized shoe still dangling by its shoestring from her mouth.

"Spit them out," she orders firmly.

"We don't eat our classmates!"

A soggy group of kids, dripping disgusting pink-ish dino drool, re-appear, looking piteously at Mrs. Noodleman. Their parents apparently didn't warn them about being eaten for morning snack time.

Penelope pitches in to be a good sport at recess, but the sight of her, mouth wide open, at the bottom of the twisty slide, doesn't inspire confidence in her classmates. She finds that no one accepts her invitation to sit next to her at lunch. So far, making friends isn't on her menu.

After school Penelope reports sadly that no one at school would play with her.

"Sometimes it's hard to make friends, especially if you eat them," Dad points out.

That night Penny snuggles under her beloved pony coverlet (Ponies are tasty!) and thinks about her dad's advice.

But new Kindergartners often find it difficult to curb their impulses, and the new day doesn't start well.

"Mrs. Noodleman! Penelope ate William Omoto again!" someone tattles.

Understandably, the kids keep their distance from Penelope Rex. Lonely, she wanders over to where the class pet, Walter the Goldfish, is swimming happily in his bowl. Maybe at least Walter will be her friend. Penelope sticks one finger into the water.

Walter CHOMPS!

"WAAAHHH!" cries Penelope. "He's EATING my finger!"

Suddenly Penelope discovers the true meaning of the golden rule, in Ryan T. Higgins' latest giggle fest, We Don't Eat Our Classmates (Disney Hyperion Books, 2018). Higgins' best-selling picture books are small masterpieces of dramatic pacing and ironically hilarious illustrative style, and Penelope is a totally cute little T. Rex, a somehow sympathetic character despite that one bad predilection, and kids' tickleboxes will turn over as Walter the Goldfish pointedly delivers the denouement. School rules were never more fun.

Ryan T. Higgins is also the author of the top-selling hits, Mother Bruce, Hotel Bruce (Mother Bruce), and Bruce's Big Move (Mother Bruce) (see reviews here).

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