Ring the bell! A class of anthropomorphized animals assembles for their first day of school.
At Hazelwood Elementary, Mr. Wolf, the new fourth-grade teacher, is looking forward to meeting his class. As the buses roll in and the children arrive, he meets new student Margot, a tawny rabbit; Aziza, a violet duck in a hijab; Penny, a sleepy, apricot-colored pig; and Sampson, a lime-green frog with a beloved shell collection; and more. The narrative lens bounces cheerily around the classroom, from various students to their teacher, encompassing authentic elementary school experiences including embarrassing bathroom moments, cutting in line, silly fart jokes, purloined classroom items, and playground shenanigans. Steinke’s character-driven graphic offering pays keen attention to its cheerfully colored denizens, keeping them centered in his cleanly rendered panels and utilizing close-ups to highlight emotion and expression. Young readers should easily self-identify with fifth-grade teacher Steinke’s varied and sharply observed characters and wryly perceived classroom minutiae. Although none of the notably diverse characters are explored with any great depth, they are all given enough attention to be memorable, creating anticipation for further meetings in this promising new series.
This class gets an A. (Graphic fantasy. 6-10)