Teague (who illustrated Audrey Wood's The Flying Dragon Room, p. 75) takes the sidelong view of life in this story about Wendell and Floyd, who are chronically late for school. One day it's space creatures that nearly abduct them, on another it's pirates in the neighborhood, and on another it's a plague of frogs that slows their progress schoolward. Their teacher is not amused. ""Absurd! I'm warning you--be here on time tomorrow--or else! And no more crazy excuses!"" Next day, up at the crack of dawn, determined not to let Ms. Gernsblatt down, Wendell recommends a secret shortcut. That shortcut seems to occupy a parallel dimension, one of rain forests and jungle animals, trailing vines and giant mud puddles. Finally, in the distance, they hear the school bell, and, running toward the noise, make it to their seats in the nick of time. This is an invigorating massage to the imagination, luxuriantly set in Teague's tactile acrylic illustrations, dreamlike items painted from worm's- and bird's-eye angles. Readers who have found themselves tardy and lacking suitable excuses will prize the brio of Wendell and Floyd.